Stain

Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. –Isaiah 1:18

We grabbed hold of goggled Howard as he
Ran home to his mother. His thin, gangly
Limbs were easy to pin and we kicked him
Down in the blue snow one afternoon in
An untrod field, far from help. He didn’t see
Us. We beat him till he pissed himself. We
Packed his lenses with hard handfuls of ice—
Left him blinded with snow, washed by the white.
I recall blood, pupil black blots staining
The soft powder, and his face, still straining
To see me through tears, through muffled cries—whys.
Rage, oh rage, how you scar us, and baptize.
And now, watching my son cut through that same
Blank page, my blurring scratches down Howard’s name.

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