the boy had gritty, gray eyes,
like grains of salt—
rounded white granules
drifting inside a thimbleful
of soda water, held by a glass
shaped like a ring.
strapped to his boney arms
he wore wings.
fashioned from rough leather,
they flapped in the wind—
the wind that tore through the
metallic sky—like the flags
of dead lands, long-ago times.
he stood on the sill of a window,
held the heavy glass above his head
with the tips of his fingers.
brown clay pots at his sides,
their dark centers seemed to explode
green and yellow spikes of aloe vera.
four stories below: the street,
the bustling traffic—red lights,
yellow lights—all slicked silver from rain.
he failed to notice the watchful eyes
of the man in the dark, hazy room;
the man across the street—
watching, smoking, waiting.
when the boy left the window sill
he did not jump—merely let himself fall.
the polluted blare of a taxi's horn
rang through the streets, climbed
up into my room, filled my ears—
as if in anticipation—like the shrill
meeting of two saxophones
finding the same note.
his eyes remained open, gray—
his dilated pupils reflecting the sky
above him. the sheen of the clouds.
the hidden, white sun.
the people came fast, formed a dense,
sweaty ring around his body.
they had not witnessed
the two mighty pumps the boy gave
on his way down.
they had only heard
his bones break.
the approaching sirens rang out
like a ragtime band leading
a parade of giant, squawking birds.