That boy was good with animals.
And he was good at animals the way
some hearing boys are good at
making sounds of artillery fire
using only the tongues in their heads.
Using only his face and his hands
he could paint any animal on the farm
on the air, and we’d recognize it
by some detail he’d capture, some
unmistakable physical thing, an angle
or posture, a sideways chewing,
the dangle of a tongue, the puppy’s ear hanging
inside-out like a pocket.
He was the only witness when the neighbor’s dog
got run over, and he told us the whole story
with his whole body, how the pickup
swerved to avoid her, grazing
her shoulder, the angle of impact
throwing her into the woods.
We all stood around, ignorant
of what happened exactly, hoping
and fearing as his story unfolded
and he embodied first the dog running, then
the truck braking, then
the dog then the truck then the dog
so we had the feeling we were seeing it all
just as it happened, and just as it was happening,
but in slow motion and with a zoom lens
and from six different camera angles.
© by Paul Hostovsky.
Used with the author’s permission.