When Names Escaped Us

The boy painted himself white and ran into the darkness.

We let the words “he may be dead, bury him,”
bury him.

We took his clothes to the rummage sale
in the basement of the mission
We put his photographs and drawings
in a birdcage and covered it with a starquilt.

For four nights voices carried clear to the river.

After winter so many storms moved in
strangers came among us
They danced
They shoveled in the shadows of trees

Then, somehow we all felt
all of us were of this one boy.