The Telling

by Robert Powell

November, the world dead

waiting for snow & at dusk

Ray coaxed his sister Susie

to the one-bulb garage where


O’Connell & Ralph plus one

cluster by the open tail-gate

of the family Ford & on it

thirteen she’s placed &


in the thick padding

of her winter coat & cords

squirms as they grip

her ankles & wrists


whimpers I’ll tell I’ll tell

while eight hands take

turns to search the places

where the secrets


are meant to hide

O’Connell in the lead

voice his yet not

his hissing in a tongue


untaught but learned

you like it really really

Ray in her ear don’t tell

don’t you tell or else till


they scatter into the night

O’Connell & Ray away

to smoke somewhere

I guess & Ralph plus one


to crouch in the field

behind the house the dark 

field all the leaves and weeds

silent and waiting the lovely


snow field the past field

at the edge of its last dark

before the houses & malls

erase it willing nothing


but to forget & pray

Susie, God, or anyone

don’t tell don’t tell don’t tell

They didn’t. It’s told.