“Strange Alphabets” by Craig Laurance Gidney from Best Gay Stories 2009 (Lethe Press). Edited by Steve Berman.

This piece is a fictionalized account of an event in the life of Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud. It imagines the thoughts and motivations of the poet during his first attempt to flee the confines of his mother’s house. Just fifteen years old when he snuck onto a train bound for Paris, he made a second and ultimately successful effort to leave home just ten days after this failed one.

This richly detailed, evocative story introduces us to a young man bound and determined to give himself over to life as a poet, to embrace every possible experience, good or ill.