Unknown Boy:  LEPROSY

PATIENT OF DR. SHERWELL. Born in the West Indies. Improved under treatment but died of an intercurrent disease.

My mother tells me prayer will help.
I think it won't, but try again:
"Look hard; their wings are white as milk,
and if you smile, they'll sometimes grin."

I looked so hard it hurt my eyes.
But she was right. I saw blue lips
and baby teeth, heard milky cries
floating toward me like small ships.

You're healed. Go unknown boy; go home.
Your herd awaits the winter hay.

But I was being nibbled down
and soon would be as real as they.

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