By Robert Thomas
Wadsworth: the homeliest boy in homeroom.
My acne looked like the gentle foothills
of the Sierra next to his Rockies.
Kenneth, but kids (not me) called him the Wad.
Our class went on a field trip to the snow,
and I, the most romantic of the bunch,
wandered up the frozen river, giddy
screams of rowdy carousers soon eclipsed
by the softer scream of a distant hawk.
Ken came around a bend in the river,
hand in hand with Kate Dunn, her shirt open,
her breasts brazen in the pine-scented air.
No one spoke, but they had no fear, while I
was suddenly afraid of everything.
Robert Thomas’s novella Bridge received the PEN Center USA Literary Award
for Fiction. His first book, Door to Door (Fordham), was selected by Yusef
Komunyakaa for the Poets Out Loud Prize; his second collection, Dragging the
Lake, was published by Carnegie Mellon; and his newest collection, Sonnets
with Two Torches and One Cliff, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon. He has
received an NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize.