Jarvis Boggs


Somebody is not here. Somebody is not telling us what to do. Of course, we miss somebody. We always wish somebody was here. But when somebody is not here, we have a little freedom to do as we please. That’s why I take the dog into the forest. On the other side of the forest is a field, where for some reason, loneliness, I promise the dog I’ll throw the ball until he gets tired. But the dog doesn’t get tired. Again and again he fetches it. Even the sun gets tired. The sky falls quickly into itself, like a blanket’s been pulled over it. But the dog is impatient to continue. It becomes harder and harder to find the ball. I tell the dog, you’re tired now. We walk back through the forest. There, it is already night, except for the sky, which pokes through the canopy in pieces. Somebody is up there, somewhere, looking down at us, also seeing us in pieces. We are like shadows passing among the roots of the trees. When we reach the other side, the world has changed. The sky is no longer bruised and the grass has forgotten itself. The road tongues out like a long, black river, a snake’s shadow. I can barely see the dog, or even the ball in my hand. I realize, in the worst way imaginable, that somebody is not here. It’s demented, somebody not gripping my hand, helping me find the path, so I grip the ball tightly, call the dog closer, walk back to the dark home where somebody sits with the lights off, waiting for us to return.

JARVIS BOGGS is 67-year old former primary school teacher and a current federal inmate from Skelton Ferry, Maine. In between serving 17-25 years for burglary, narcotics, felony assault, felony domestic battery, involuntary manslaughter, and lying to a federal investigator, he writes poetry, plays chess, inks tattoos, and sprints circles around the yard for all of the single hour they let him out each day. At night, he dreams about his old dog and all the people he lost. He regrets nothing and everything, all at the same time. He would like to see at least one more sunset before he dies but has a sinking feeling that will never happen. This is his first publication.