Rosanne Singer Poetry


Sleeping Boy in Detention Center

Will you wake him?
No, not I,
For if I do,
He's sure to cry

(From Little Boy Blue, Mother Goose)

You lie bent like a chicken wing,
head and chest on blue sofa,
legs jutting out. I can't see your face
but if you are in here,
something has happened to separate you
from the whole, make even your thick parts
bony. I don't know who you are
when you wake up, but I want to rub your head
as if you are three, and not sixteen.

Someone once painted
you as Sleeping Herd-Boy,
your face pink and round against a haystack,
one hand open to the air, the other closed
down on your knee. How beautiful
to behold anger at rest,
not like the gentle sleep of a girl.
You are the rainstorm on a sunny day
when they say the devil beats his wife.

Somewhere I have seen the two of us,
peasant woman holding a young boy
asleep on her lap, her expression
unsmiling but fond. See,
I don't want to wake up either
from the dream of saving you,
as if all you needed
was a pose or loving gesture
to put you back together.


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