Boy

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).

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Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What Is Left of Wings, I Ask (forthcoming, 2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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