Every morning, the boy down the street
boards the bus, sits alone,
hood up and headphones looping one song
over and over, but today it’s different,
today he smells like blood
and something richer, a leak of marrow
from a fracture somewhere deep, unraveling patience
you didn’t know you had,
which had been holding something back, something
fierce you can feel rearing up inside
as you stand and walk
to the back of the bus and sit
beside him, smiling your look-away smile,
one that unzippers the dark
beneath the surface, like forgiveness with teeth.
Erinn Batykefer earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press) and The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (Coffee House Press). She is co-founder and editor of The Library as Incubator Project, and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.