At 8:00 PM Charles was placed in a crib by his nurse, he was wrapped in
a blanket fastened by large gold pins. He was 20 months old, recovering
from a cold. He could walk, he had words, limited but extending
from the family out. His hair curly. His chin dimpled.
His face would appear on posters circulated country wide, the word
WANTED in large letters, followed by the word information in smaller letters.
His father mentioned by name, and by profession “World Famous Aviator”,
was summoned by the nanny at 10:00 when she found the crib empty.
His father found a ransom note in a white envelop on the windowsill
and ran out into the night with a gun. His son was alive then,
dead by the time the ransom was paid, the body found less
than 10 miles away. A journalist called the kidnapping and trial
the biggest story since the Resurrection, it was
one of the largest manhunts the country has seen.
I found a baby once, not far from where Charles was taken
sleeping in a car seat, all windows up in the summer heat.
The grandfather was sipping an iced coffee at The Starbucks
across the street. He returned in shame to his car when I came
in to find the responsible party. I tried to give the police
the license plate number over the phone, they said I would
have to schedule an appointment and come down to the precinct.
10 Things That Are Missing from my Current Self
1. A love of the late night, the idea
that 2 AM was the right time
to fall asleep, three hours of DVDs
watched, teeth brushed so long ago
they felt dirty all over.
2. Music festivals.
3. My former concept of being busy – three classes
and a meeting with a friend.
4. The autonomy of loneliness. The monotony
of loneliness. The order of loneliness. The luxury
of loneliness. The prison of loneliness.
5. The reality that every dirty dish was made that
way by me. That every spill
that needed to be scrubbed
belonged to me, once.
6. The wire framed twin bed.
7. The anticipation of the unknown.
Every year or two, my new life revealing
itself, with more friends or less,
a new location, a more thoughtful
dead end job.
8. My body, misunderstood by me, for decades,
asleep on the elliptical.
9. The idea that I would always live
in one city.
10. Late night phone calls, both
voices veering into sleep,
then into conversation.
CAITLIN THOMSON has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals including: Eleven, Eleven, The Adroit Journal, and Till The Tides. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her third collection of poetry, Territory Prayer, was published by Maverick Duck Press.