When I arrive fully formed,
I wave at the boys who pass by my window.

They are curious about me and
my tendency to speak in a high voice.

I ask them to pull weeds from the garden
and teach them to plant flowers
you can eat.

They are wild and full of secrets. 

I listen at the window with the curtains closed
swallowing until I am full of hope.

They beg me for fathering. For catch. To fight them. This is all they know how to want.

I object. I leave out piles of gummy bears and peanuts.
I give them hand-drawn maps to the library.

And in return they put on a play for me. They speak in code while I’m trying to think.
They rip open my mail. They put caution tape on my door. They laugh and laugh and laugh.
They whisper to each other, making sure I can see.

They throw a ball that hits the glass at 3 am. I run out at them with fists flailing. 

I’m telling! I yell.

They scatter across the night and
I sigh to the blanket of stars. There is no one but me.

Photo by OSPAN ALI on Unsplash.

Sage Mitchell

Sage Mitchell (he/they) is a queer, trans-masculine writer and educator living in Michigan. He teaches English to emerging artists at Interlochen Arts Academy. His poetry has been published in What Are Birds?, Tilted House, and Pour Vida. Sage’s first chapbook Dirt Stache is due from Neon Hemlock Summer 2024.

You can find Sage on instagram.