The boys are kicking over garbage cans
and smashing car windows with heaves
of glass bottles. Time in the pest house
of school or remediation on a road crew
has moved them to boredom with bare knuckles
and stolen knives. Soon, their insecurity
will concentrate on the grip of a Glock
till an enemy, who a minute before
was unknown and not an enemy, appears
under a streetlight. The provocation
will be slight: soft palms hardened
to a shove. In days to come,
friends of the enemy will strip bark
from the few trees they know and graffiti
their grief onto the trunks. And the boys,
even after the votive jars have filled
with rainwater and plastic rose bouquets
have somehow wilted in the humidity,
the boys will also mourn their killed.
In their woe they will want for a light
to slow-drag through them, a light
like the reflection of sequin or chrome.
They will not find it and they will not
find it until they are discovered faceup
in a dirt lot where neighbors remember
a house, a while back, was torn down,
where now bricks and teeth of glass
push up, like Indian bones, through the soil.
Copyright © 2018 Iain Haley Pollock
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.