Flickering in the light of the neighbor’s
surveillance camera, you see this boy
pulling the trash bin away from the curb. He is
thirteen, it is ten in the morning, he is a boy
at home with his mother and brother in a blue
house with a porch and a screen door. This boy
doesn’t say anything I can hear, because I am looking
at the last moments of his life on tape: this boy,
from this distance— from beyond frame after frame and from
beyond his life because now he is dead. Around this boy,
what was the quality of the light that morning? Was it
warm or musky like the silk of corn, was it milky? This boy,
and this other boy who walked to the corner convenience store
for a can of soda and a bag of sweets: under his hood, this boy—
And the boy that, surely, once in his life, the white
man brandishing the gun must have been? Only a boy,
each of them. Black face, sepia-tinted body stepping from
shadow into warm light: how does he become less than a boy?
On camera, two frantic dogs run circles around the man
and the boy; you might hear the voice of the boy
who pleads for his life. Play it again, and still it is the same:
see the man lunge forward, raise his arm, take aim at the boy.
In response to small stone (244).