Bless the boys riding their bikes straight up, at midnight, touching,
if only briefly, holding, hands as they cross the light to Independence.
Bless them for from the side the one on the red bike looks like me,
his redbrown hair loose against the late summer static heat.
The boy who is not me (see how I did that) fixes his mouth to say
something I will never hear I love you or I’m so sad though
more than likely Catch up. Bless the boy who is me on his bike
because he was a witness to my witnessing and did not turn away,
did not make of me a disappeared, burned thing— instead nodded as boys do.
Bless the distance and the knowing there. What my mind makes of these boys,
bless that long hallway I’m always going through.
Bless what could be mine or me.
Bless the boys I wanted to be or wanted.
Copyright © 2020 Taylor Johnson
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.