Portraiture

A poem from Potato Eaters (2008 Finishing Line Press). Be grateful this Thanksgiving.

Portrait of a Girl and Boy on a Bus

 

She is seven, maybe eight; cords of brown hair
weave around her neck, weary of years.
Holding her brother’s hand
as loosely as a button off a winter coat,
she waits as he climbs the broad bus steps;
he doubles up on each, just missing a shoelace
undone and unraveling from each of his shoes.
A pair of red knit mittens connected by string
falls loose as her arm laces around his frame;
his hair, misshapenly cut, hides a blue bruise
behind his ear.

Protecting his six years,
how she glows—as if light winked
from under clouds, and cast a coral light around them.
If only sand coursed beneath their feet,
and starfish gleamed, the ones they’ve never seen
land-locked by this turbulent bus,
this unlucky globe.

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