i ended up playing four square

There was this boy named Julian

who also did not want to play four square

at paleontology camp. He had this cocky

smile and was a little greasy, cow-lick hair, 

his eyes were blue and like chipped porcelain, 

and he smelled all the time like boy-sweat.   

I knew he, too, had been damaged in some way.  

So we became friends. I wore my deinonychus shirt

to impress him, and he told me “no, that’s a velociraptor,”

and I knew he didn’t know about dinosaurs like I did,

but that’s okay because he looked me in the eyes when

I talked and mumbled about his step-father and didn’t 

have his own room and touched my wrists 

with his wrists sometimes and asked for my 

help on the quizzes. I knew what the stegosaurus silhouette 

was, and the brachiosaurus, and the pachycephalosaurus, 

but he only knew the T-Rex. 

And the velociraptor. 

And the other carnivores. 

Then, 

we made dinosaur footprints out of construction paper, 

and I told him how excited I was to take mine home with 

me and create trails of footprints through my room – I 

was going to re-enact the scene from Littlefoot, where

Littlefoot find his mother’s footprint, with my dinosaur

toys, and he said “you still like dinosaurs? 

nobody still likes dinosaurs.” 


Walker James is a queer poet living in St. Paul, Minnesota with his cat. They have been published in Haute Dish and have work forthcoming in Rag Mag Revival. His Twitter handle is @fscottnaruto1

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