A Portrait Of A Boy

A young boy lies on a blanket
Black powder, aluminum and iron
Fire off above his head
Loud and bright, he says oooo, woww
He’s got a black shirt on,
Black pants
He’s overweight,
or whatever,
I should be interested in something else,
anything else,
but I’m not, I want to watch this boy
He’s my little brother, my child, my father, God

The boy’s mother photographs the firework show
Chews her gum with her mouth open
She’s got a couple of girls runnin’ around too
She likes her capri pants, her icebox
She doesn’t look at me as I stare at her son,
at her, people never notice when you’re writing a poem
about ‘em
Less they’re a poet themselves and still
they like to think you’re not really doin’ it

I continue to observe the child in his environment,
watching for any majors changes
He sucks and slurps on a Tootsie pop
He’s an innocent thing who flinches
whenever the fireworks boom too loud
Mom did you see that box catch on fire?!
she clicks.

I want to watch him grow but he isn’t mine
and I think I’m OK anyway watching other
people’s children.

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