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.


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