“Cerebral Leper” by Sterling Warner

Cerebral Leper

A sad-eyed towhead,

photographer favorite,

epileptic outsider, my

Catholic baptism &

religious training did

little to mitigate ostensible

demonic possession amid

minds trained to discern

right from wrong, pain from

pleasure, evil from good;

they branded me a shaking

peer pariah—best kept at a

distance; while schoolmates

branded me the class spaz,  

teachers treated me an outcast,

labeled my affliction a mere

electronic brainstorm, cruelly

& calculatedly triggered by an

irascible child desiring attention,

planting lifetime seeds of self-deprecation—

sharing painful humor just to survive.

An author, poet, educator, and Pushcart nominee, Sterling Warner’s poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Flatbush Review, Literary Yard, The Fib Review, Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, Shot Glass Journal, and The Atherton Review. Warner has published five collections of poetry: Without Wheels, Shadowcat, Rags & Feathers, Edges, and Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux. Also, in August 2020, he launched, Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories, his first collection of fiction. Presently, Warner lives along the Hood Canal in Union, Washington and spends his free time writing, wood working, and salmon fishing.