What’s Expected of Little Boys
The little boy runs through a cold winter forest. Skinny evergreen spires poke out of the ground and stretch forever into the distance. The white sky above is a suspended, clinical plane. There’s complete silence. The little boy has been running for days. Months. Millennia.
On the trunk of one tree is pinned a jersey. In the branches of another are tangled white vestments and a long brass candle-lighter, which points down at the little boy like a rigid finger. The forest floor is a grey mulch of snow and crushed Batgirl action figures.
The winter forest is cold and never-ending and silent. When the little boy tries to sing to himself, his voice is absent, forbidden like dreams and questions and nail polish. For this little boy, here in this winter forest, there is nothing but coldness. He is exhausted. He stops running.
Immediately the silence is slivered by the soft rush of descent. Something tall and dark sinks down into the trees, a long shaggy leg. The little boy stumbles towards it. The leg is covered in black hairs and it pulsates slightly. The little boy reaches out a tentative hand.
The leg is warm and silky, and the little boy can hear the hairs brush against his palm, the only sound in the cold winter forest. The sky continues to gleam white and the forest remains silent, the trees static and filled with the detritus of other little boys.
The little boy moves forward and embraces the leg, wrapping his body tightly around it. He doesn’t look up to see what’s attached to the leg. He doesn’t care, because the leg is warm and soft, and in a cold winter forest that’s the only thing that matters.
David Landy is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University in St. Paul,
Minnesota. A writer of mainly fiction and screenplays, David has recently started exploring poetry and the lyric essay. His two favorite books of all time are City of Night by John Rechy and American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and his other interests include film, piano, and musicals.