Distorted Glowing Image: Photo by Carl Larsen

Boy at Bellevue

You don't mind if I just look.
This was my home for years.
It's most inconvenient, though,
And your father hasn't yet repaired
Our crumbling, bathroom floor.

Well, if you let me just run through
I'll ask my father to
Fix up the place some more.
All right, she said, because
Her son peered through the door.

I thought he smiled knowing
That we shared childhoods.
Touring the mosaic of my youth
We entered his domain.
He asked me what we did
Inside his room when we were young.

We played, of course,
Before lights were installed
And these bookshelves here were built.

The boy explained exactly what he meant:
Every night I go to bed
I close my eyes so I can't see.
Except one night I opened them
To huge eyes staring through me.
They glistened gold and bodyless
And I knew that they were real
Because I saw them later
Then I wasn't quite as scared.

His mother scorned his vision
But he ignored this false reproof.

I sent a silent message -
It's me, Arthur, I said,
When we broke that seance circle
We would never have imagined
You'd get trapped within these walls.

If a child's earnestness
Could bring you back to earth
Then know with all of my heart
I give you freedom to go forth.
And if running from the room
When we saw your eyes and shadow,
Thrust you into limbo,
Now I have returned.

Please don't be angry
At a child's ignorance.
We called you hear to learn
What's rarely told on earth,
But then got scared to hear
What we've been taught to disbelieve.

If it's any consolation,
As your mission then was meant,
You have now brought new awareness
To this boy and myself.

The tour soonafter ended.
As I headed for the door,
The mom was glad that I was leaving,
Her son was glad I'd finally come.
He only wondered why I hadn't come before.

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