406 Readings

Trigger Warning

In the library a student I don’t know

exclaims that over a million people died on his birthday—

he is smiling as if this fact has given him a super power.

When the bell rings, I see him in slow motion

loading his backpack and returning to ordinary.


Outside, the springlike air will either help or hurt.

I want to follow him. I want to put an anonymous note

in the bruised and busy backpack causing him to slump.


Dear Boy,

            Please notice the white and orange marigolds–how wasps 

           go about their business. Their stingers serve a purpose worth 

           waiting for—Dear Boy, listen carefully. Your homework

            is to imagine yourself years from now. It is your birthday,

            and you will kiss a lover who sleeps beside you then you will sit

            at a computer to learn that millions have been born this day.


Instead, I move through the xeriscaped path whose plants

seem to lean in the direction of the boy’s bus. A motor hums

in competition with the buzz of insects and birdsong.

He takes a window seat and leans his head against poorly tinted glass.

Outside the world moves in whatever vantage point he chooses.

Posted 10/24/15
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