Knots like two dozen fists
sway with want from the boy’s
keffiyeh, that black & white scarf
with its useless hands clopping
against the wind in protest,
against this boy & his somebody
lost, against their own swaying
in a dance the lost body has lost.
A boy. A somebody lost. A body bodied
in the lights of inauguration night
when every light in the city flared
with hope. Always losing, always
a boy left with a dozen weights,
small circles on strings pulling
his head down to the ground.
Downcast. Drop your bucket here
& make the city yours and all
that jive keeps him from running.
Escaping the pavement, where
bodies finally fall to rest.
The keffiyeh keeps him from
bucking against the wind,
hurtling himself to the Grey-
hound or Amtrak or I-95
with a book bag & hitched finger.
His head shrouded in the black
& white, the knots keeping
his eyes down as he traverses
neighborhoods with names like Third
World, with names like a nation
falling. & the coffin-voiced
boy is who God tells us he will
save, & so those swinging knots
must be a kind of redemption,
a way to see the bullets that bury
you, constantly, as if death is
the disguise hiding your wings.
Copyright © 2015 Reginald Dwayne Betts
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.