A Boy Comes Toward You

he comes toward you                           down the sidewalk
he has something in his hands            he’s eleven
he’s wearing a white shirt                    he smiles
he’s black                                                 he has something in his hands
his hood is up                                          he’s a thin boy
he’s white                                                he’s got an angry scar
his cap is on backwards                       he’s nineteen
he wears a black jacket                       he doesn’t smile
his hands are in his pockets                he doesn’t make eye contact
he’s very tall                                            he’s chewing gum
he’s got headphones                             he’s smoking
he looks away                                         he’s holding the hand of a little girl
his jeans ride low                                    he looks straight ahead
he’s alone                                                 he’s Sikh, his hair wound in his patka
what’s in his hands                                 he’s fourteen
he smiles                                                  one ear is pierced
both ears are pierced                            his jacket is blue
a boy comes down the sidewalk        you cannot tell what’s in his hands
he winks                                                   is that a book under his arm
he’s clean cut                                          his hair is long
his shoes are dirty                                  he says nothing
he says hey                                              he’s carrying something
is it a coffee mug                                    he says please
he comes toward you                            he asks if he can pray for you
he looks you in the eye                          you look at what’s in his hands
you look him in the eye                         the prayer hangs in the air between you

Gillian WegenerGillian Wegener’s chapbook, Lifting One Foot, Lifting the Other was published by In the Grove Press in 2001, and her first full-length collection of poetry, The Opposite of Clairvoyance was published in 2008 by Sixteen Rivers Press. In 2011, she co-edited More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets (Quercus Review Press). Wegener lives in Modesto where she coordinates and hosts the monthly 2nd Tuesday Reading Series, is founding president of the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center, teaches creative writing to girls in juvenile hall, and serves as the Poet Laureate for the city of Modesto.

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