Poetry

Shooting an Innocent (for Nicholas V. )

The white child
With the black friend
Sits crying tonight
Under the halogen light;

His bat and his ball
His bike in the hall
His bruise from an angry fight;
He’d barter them quick
He’d barter them all
To change his distressing sight;

The boys tall and cool
The girls missing school
These were the friends he made first.
They played well at pool
They all played the fool,
Now, one rode in a hearse.

And the questions
Of how and why and when
He never thought until then,
All stuck in his head
With the boy who lay dead,
And life was now sad at ten.

And the single mother
Of the single child
Was once herself
Just running wild
In afternoons and evening tide
In weather wet and weather mild,
Much like the boy she sits beside
And comforts, knowing
His innocence has died.

And the father
She did not know,
And the boy’s father
Who did not go
To the funeral of his friend,
Cemented the bond
Of the single mother, and the single son.

And the tears
Which were not shed
For his father, living
Nor her father, dead
Sprinkled the memory
Of the black boy, instead.

Thoughts on “Shooting an Innocent (for Nicholas V. )”

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