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.
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.