This Boy at Summer Camp


Dominic at summer camp had caramel brown skin,
Half adult/half baby teeth, and two doe eyes that sparkled
When he talked about how his left hand was faster
When drumming his fingers on the table. He could drum.

But one time his face fell off when dinner just started.
An empty taco shell sat on his eggshell dinner plate.
Other campers went on smearing beans inside corn holders,
Saying pass the cheese, pass the sour cream, the lettuce.

But Dominic’s face had fallen off. He had no mouth,
So the big man at the table took him by the hand
Away from the mess hall, away from his sadness.
Sadness was what it was, then, as sadness usually is.

And I don’t know what the big man said, but I can guess
How the big man said it, because when the boy came back
He asked for a mountain of rice.  A pile so high.  So high
It touched the sky, seasoned with tomatoes and salt.

Boy, could he eat. I watched him eat one mountain, then two.

for Real Toads


15 thoughts on “This Boy at Summer Camp

  1. This is just beautiful, Angie, understated, lovely, poignant, full of grace. A sweet sweet story. Thanks so much for participating with such a lovely offering. k.

  2. I loved the intimacy of it — this was pure summer camp, a place many of us haven’t seen in a long, long time. The quirks of personality (that drumming!) and how grace more readily delivers in the delivery than the substance. Love is the door marked “Heaven” and explanation the door marked “Lecture on Heaven.” Which does any of us choose? … Anyway, fine work.

  3. Loved this – often a simple word of encouragement, a new blink of perspective, can make a huge difference. This was a powerful, beautiful poem (as far as I am concerned).

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