The Lonliest Age by Richard LeDue

We didn't starve,

but we were malnourished;

learned to read

from the back of cereal boxes

(part of a complete breakfast).

Our favourite TV shows

taught us

the joy of tearing plastic,

cardboard apart;

bedroom floor littered

with action figures like a battlefield

where everyone lost.

Adolescence was no better.

Toy soldiers buried

in shoeboxes, no monument,

just acne and the realization

that childhood had too many bowls

filled with sugar.

Legally an adult at eighteen,

yet unkissed,

lips over-licked,

especially in winter,

builds to a fantasy that sex

would mean someone

else to pour the milk.

Not elderly yet,

but envision a beautiful nurse,

sponge baths daily,

along with diaper changes.

She'll spoon feed us hot cereal,

grown cold.

Richard LeDue was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. He currently lives and teaches in Norway House, Manitoba. His work has been published by the Tower Poetry Society, in Adelaide Literary Magazine, the Eunoia Review, Mojave He[art] Review, Little Rose Magazine, and Black Bough Poetry.