BOY WITH CLEAR PLASTIC BACKPACK
Every weekday, walking
north after school, he checks
over his left shoulder
at the very moment my vision snags
on his gait, fitful as any stop-motion
Mammal my mind texts
and its next lightning tags him:
boy with clear plastic backpack.
Maybe he turns for every car
that passes. Maybe our eyes never
Maybe he looks back expectant,
amassing the rumble of a bus
he must catch from the humbler hum
of sedans; maybe he looks back fearful.
I can only tell you
that he looks back vulnerable,
that the bruised apple
in his see-through bag
may as well be a spare heart.