When the night fell, the fireflies always came
to irradiate their sympathies softly
onto his stuffed cheek—the face with a sewn
expression, an emotion chosen for him upon
his birth, a pronounced smile so real that
he nearly believed in it, believed in joy.
Cursed—by immobility and an immutable
durability—he closed his eyes and dreamed
through the years in silence, living a quiet
rustic life as a functional spectacle
on a golden field. Sometimes he dreamed
of laughing winds and droning cicadas and
songs he could not name. Sometimes a new shirt
unpecked by birds and not drenched in rain.
But mostly he dreamed of the sparklers
that children held on a midsummer night
tiny, eldritch explosions that fascinated him so.
He dreamed of touching those miniature flames,
his illusionary hands pulling them close to his face
He dreamed of stitches coming loose and falling
off from the corners of his mouth and he dreamed
of weeping with his weathered, button eyes closed
as well as the salty taste of tears
on the tip of his tongue.