Rumors for the Dead Boy


Here were the facts about

The dead boy:

He was a son,

A brother,

A friend,

And a lover.


He was found in the lake,



And pale.

His eyes half eaten

And his left hand

Torn off.




Everything Gone.


The first rumor went like this: “He was pushed.”

The second: “He was pushed by one of the Klank brothers.”

The third: “Kevin Klank pushed the dead boy.”

The fourth: “He was pushed at the end of a fight by the middle Klank boy.”

The fifth: “It was a gang war.”

The sixth: “The dead boy was high.”

The seventh: “The dead boy was drunk.”

“Just like his father.”

The eighth: “The father pushed the poor dead boy into the water

After a night of beatings.”

The ninth: “The dead boy was drunk and decided to

Take a swim.”

This is where the dead boy’s mother

Laughed. “He can’t swim.”


The dead boy was buried

Three days later. Closed casket. Small gathering.

The first rumor went like this: “I heard it was closed cause his face

Was eaten by the gators!”

“No I heard it was melted.”

“His hands were eaten Dummy.”

“You know I heard from a friend of a friend

That his right hand was eaten as well.”

“No real loss there--”

“Have some respect! The boy is dead!”


The dead boy’s mother went home

Shortly after burying her

Only son next to her father.

Her head in a daze.

“Heard she took pills during

The ceremony. In front of God, what a pig.”

“No she was ill during the ceremony.

Did you see how she coughed all the time? Poor thing.”

“Poor thing my ass. She killed that

Poor boy. She pushed him.

 “I saw her do it!”

“Now she has no one.

Wonder what she’s gonna do now?”

“Did you see that man she

Had over about two days ago?”

“A big one. Black as the night.”

“No. No I heard he was white.”

“Heard it was the carpenter himself.”


The dead boy soon faded. From the news,

The mouths,

And the eyes of the people.

“I heard he did it because he was a homo.”

“You know someone told me the same thing.”

“I saw him with another man.”

“I think it was a Klank brother.”

“No remember that girl he was dating Oh, what’s her name--”

“The fat one?”

“I heard she was pregnant.”

“She dropped outta school and he followed right after her. Stupid.”

“Poor babies. All of them.”


Here were the facts about

The dead boy: He wanted to die.

The dead boy took

A handful of pills,

A bottle of Jack,

His fathers,

Swallowed each fear,

His mother,

His father,

His brother,

His pregnant ex-girlfriend,

And finally swam,

To the ones unwilling

To hurt him.


(previously published in Issue 7 of TypeHouse Magazine)


© Joe Russo


Bio:  Joe Russo has been published in Linguistic Erosion, Farther Stars than These, Leaves of Ink, Typehouse Magazine, Door is A Jar Magazine, Spillwords and Centum Press. Joe is currently working on a collection of short stories, "Let's Talk about Porn," which showcases interesting and odd stories about the one thing we're all afraid to admit to watching and his first chapbook collection called, " ManHat" which features poems about the greatest city in the world - New York City. You can read more of his stuff over at his website -