skate park kid


Skate Park Kid

The learning curve arrived at three in the morning
with two armed guards and one unaffected
nurse greeting me near his curtained
guerney. He was raging against
restraints with words like suicide
and speeding car. Oxycontin.
I know when he cries

he cries smaller, grinds longer
rails. He’d pop-shove along Greyhound
bus curbs for a ride back to the coast.
So he says. A box of Pacific
sand in his father’s trunk, Burnside tickets,
that one picture of his mother. Everything he hates

rides with him when he runs. Stay
and meet yourself—I want to tell him.
He was a Sunday born in June, the little boy
without a captain’s mask. I see this
when he grinds, when he stand-flips,
when I won’t post his bond.



Previously published in Temenos Journal.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

18 responses to “skate park kid

  1. It’s what people see when you peel the sticking plaster from the wound. Wonderful life-observation, wrapped caringly in words.

    • redmitten

      neil- good to hear from you, and yes, what is beneath the bandage? so much pain we each carry. we carry alone and sometimes with each other. but in this case, it hurt to say no to the kid.

  2. Sometimes it hurts me worse than it hurts you, really is true. Or maybe not. Who can measure another’s pain? I guess there’s always enough of it to go around. This poem certainly makes that clear enough.

    • redmitten

      laurie- and as you would especially relate, the mental health providers are few and far between. to get help- impossible only too often here.

  3. This hits close to home. You have no idea how much I didn’t want to finish reading it once I’d started. But I’m so glad I did. “Stay and meet yourself.” A wish. A dream.
    This truth is hard but, as always, thank you for not being afraid to tell it.

    • redmitten

      andrea-your words help. it is hard to stay and meet ourselves. easier to run. at times i feel i already know his future, i want to urge him to do it now, later just gets worse.

  4. Rose Hunter

    he cries smaller, grinds longer /
    so good.

  5. Katy

    just a note on your comment re: abuse — I always thought we might be kin. 🙂

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