Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

This poem, by Sharon Olds, is dedicated to
Etan Patz, the victim in perhaps the most famous missing child case ever. It was the Patz case that started the whole kids'-pictures-on milk-cartons thing. Patz's body was never found -- he was six-years-old when he disappeared walking to his school bus stop on May 25, 1979.

The Missing Boy

Every time we take the bus
my son sees the picture of the missing boy.
He looks at it like a mirror -- the dark
straw hair, the pale skin,
the blue eyes, the electric-blue sneakers with
slashes of jagged gold. But of course that
kid is little, only six and a half,
an age when things can happen to you,
when you're not really safe, and our son is seven,
practically full grown -- why, he would
tower over that kid if they could
find him and bring him right here on this bus and
stand them together. He holds to the pole,
wishing for that, the tape on the poster
gleaming over his head, beginning to
melt at the center and curl at the edges as it
ages. At night, when I put him to bed,
my son holds my hand tight
and says he's sure that kid's all right,
nothing to worry about, he just
hopes he's getting the food he likes,
not just any old food, but the food
he likes the most, the food he is used to.

Etan Patz

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