The light from the television flickered,
illuminating the spoon that tinked
against the side of the cereal bowl as it dipped
into the frosted corn flakes.
The spoon slowly rises out of the milk to the boy’s mouth,
where he half eats, half slurps the contents,
spilling milk down his chin and sending flakes to tumble away.
Some of the flakes land on his pajama top,
some on his bottoms, their soggy milk ridden bodies
oozing milk into the fabric.
The cartoon playing on the television
reflects in the boy’s eyes, three feet away.
They remain glued and hardly blink
as he brings the spoon up for another bite
of cereal with the same results.
When the cartoon ends, another one begins,
and the boy doesn’t react. He digs the spoon
back into the bowl for another bite of cereal.
Frosted corn flakes were his favorite
though one could hardly be told.
Another spoonful, this one half misses his mouth.
The drippings run down his chin and spill most of the cereal.
His pajama top is soaked
with a line of milk dripping beneath his chin
and running down to where his legs sit crossed.
The bowl is half empty, cradled at his feet.
The light from the television throws hazy shadows
into the darkness of the room.
The boy doesn’t look around.
He scoops up another spoonful of cereal.
This time his mouth doesn’t open, like he forgot.
His eyes are fixed, locked on the cartoon.
His pupils reflect the stupid cat
trying to catch the mouse
on the gore-splattered television.
The cat slams into an ironing board
that falls down from the wall.
The cat is almost decapitated as he strikes,
but his neck elongates and he makes a face
that is supposed to be funny.
Usually the boy laughs,
but he shows no sign of seeing it.
His eyes have stopped blinking now.
They are welling up with tears refusing to fall.
The light from the television illuminates the bowl,
mostly empty now, full of soggy flakes
scattered all over the boys lap.
The carpet below him is soaked with urine.
The living room window begins to glow with the dawn.
The curtains are slightly askew and one side is half open.
The spoon makes a slight tink sound on the bowl
every time it comes down,
though it is becoming more and more infrequent
and there is no longer anything to scoop.
The spoon comes up, but the boy no longer opens his mouth.
He is locked in the memory of his favorite,
frosted corn flakes and their comforting taste.
The morning sun is reaching in
through the cracked front window
with the skewed curtains.
Outside, there are noises in the distance.
People scream and fight, but the noise is buried beneath the cartoon
and the drowned out antics of the cat and mouse.
The boy was awakened in the night.
There was fighting and screaming and it scared him,
but now there is only silence.
He didn’t see anything until he reached the bottom of the stairs,
something wet and black oozed in the darkness.
The front door was half open and the cold air was coming in.
He moved through the house. There was a lot,
but he didn’t see, he couldn’t see.
He told his mother he wanted flakes. That’s what he called them.
Her body didn’t respond. He told her again and got up to show her.
He got the box of cereal out as well as the milk.
He set them on the floor in the kitchen
avoiding the dark wet spots on the floor.
He poured as best he could spilling some,
but holding to his single minded focus,
frosted corn flakes and nothing else.
He carried the bowl to the living room
and turned on the television.
The cartoon channel was on all day.
He was lucky for that.
He turned it on, sat down
and slowly began to eat his cereal.