by Amy M. Alvarez
The lanky brown boy who walks ahead of me
wears a red leather jacket so new I can hear it creaking.
Hip hop rasps tinny through his oversize headphones.
His head bobs as the music comes to the place
where he thinks he knows the words and lets spill:
Shots fall, man down—it’s a homicide. He mumbles
as these lyrics fade, a brutal half-haiku.
These are the last words he will utter
before he slips through the blue doors
ahead, begins another day of high school.
Red buds push from maple branches. We
tread over ice and salt. Our path
is narrow—slick and steep.
Posted to the Cincinnati Review website on 10 November 2021.