The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

by Logan Ellis

Here we are, 
lonely kids.

Here we are,
running through crops as braided & carefully tightened
as our ethnic heads, past the sunken tractors, 
past the shadows stretched over industry.

Here we are,
lonely kids
at the center of the dinner table,
eating our shadows in three neat courses,
full of (too many?) glass hearts whittling 
tea lights into single 
lips, blowing lopsided kisses.

Here we are, 
still pretending to drown 
in the community pool because no one will notice,
the usual angles of our panic bent 
through the water into shreds of light.

Here we are,
lonely kids
masturbating in the eye sockets of ghosts planted
deeply in the homes of stale 
strobe lights Here we are 
quiet as catapults in unnamed fields,
mighty in our guts of gore Here

we are
lonely kids 
whose fathers left us with nothing
but the grass we were born on, left
mothers who didn’t realize that their 
kids are the opposite of solitude, 
kids who want and need 
but don’t and can’t kids 
like lone wolves missing vocal chords
listen to us,

listen to us: the perfect equation,
nothing special but nothing undesirable,
just as available, just as there
as an unlonely kid would be but 
fuck a lonely kid,
who wants and who needs 
the wants and needs of a 
lonely kid? Who eats
the staple of a question mark and who
pets a dog that bites 
and cries after, licking and licking 
apologies into the skin?

Look, 
here they are.
Pick a lonely kid from the gutter,
gently quiet their fingers from their hair,
take their hand—realize it’s as wide 
as a homeless man’s—and
walk with them through
those cobblestoned streets,
say, with kindness, 
“Do you want a piece of gum?”

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