The Quiet Boy

Stephen Kampa

BPR 44 | 2017

The talk turned, as it always did, to power,
Or more precisely, to the superpowers
The boys would die for. All of them were boys.

They camped out in the corner of the band room
During lunch hours that felt too long for them,
Extracting chips and Cheetos from their bags

While they discussed telepathy, time travel,
Teleportation, and the finer points
Of flight: “Of course it’s badass,” said the one

Who said most everything as if he knew
Most everything, “but you can go too high,
And then what?” Here he hammed it up: gasps, gurgles.

“Can’t breathe. You pass out. Then you better hope
You turn invincible before you land.”
He crunched his Bugle with authority.

“Pyrokinesis,” purred the lone bold boy
Who dared to smoke. “Oh, please,” another countered,
“Hydrokinesis. Since we’re mostly water.”

“Invisibility,” daydreamed the boy
With acne so persistent and intense—
His face pink, amber-grainy, strafed with strips

Of peeling skin—he seemed a poorly made
Piñata, “I’d pick that one. Just imagine
The things you’d see!” The boys all paused then, lost

In puffs and pallors none of them had seen
Except online. One wiped his salty fingers
Across his jeans. Another gulped his Crush.

The quiet boy, as usual, said nothing.
Invisibility? Dumb. Just plain dumb.
Why choose a power you already had?