May 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Two
Ralph Baker III
YES AS A MATTER OF FACT, I HAVE
ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY.


I remember one time
when I was a little boy.
I was out in the woods
behind my grandfather’s,
and in the forest I found a
small animal skull
bleached by the sun,
cleaned by the bugs.
I picked it up.
I brought it back to the house with me.
Proud of my find.
At the door my aunt asked
what
was
in
my tightly clenched hand.
"Guess," I said.
"A mouse," she said.
"No," I said.
a bug, a persimmon,  
a flower, a snail,
a frog,
These were her guesses.
As she guessed more and more
living, pretty things,
I became more aware of the
dead
rotten
gray
thing
I was holding onto
so tightly.
I was ashamed.
I burst into tears
and ran away
in the middle
of the game.