Thursday, April 16, 2009

a reprieve for grief

first period, under the din
of singular staccato oral reading,
into my left ear
the husky, supervisory voice
carefully murmurs
the tragic news
nearly inaudibly.

I make this much out:
next period.
bad day.
best friend.

our eyes meet,
a brief transaction of significance:
prepare yourself
a seventeen year old world
got shaken to the core
is probably not in the cards
for him

I hear a familiar shuffling,
a pace slower than usual.
Good morning Melvin, I say
to an ashen face.
tight braids, once exact
now transformed
into a wild afro,
a soundless scream of grief.

with radical compassion
I become his accomplice,
conspiring with the youthful offender
to grant him freedom
(the kind I keep in my classroom)
We escape
for a while
with a young French wire walker
dancing in the clouds
between tall twin towers

That dude coulda fallen
he finally says,
and I nod.
But he just didn't,
he says, looking up.
And I nod.

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