John Grey


Ricky heard the cops shout at Michael

to stop, to put his hands in the air.

But the boy kept moving. And it was

Ricky who halted, pressed flat against

the window of the abandoned hardware store.

He couldn’t see the cops with their pistols

raised. He had a hard enough time trying

to breathe. Michael reached into his pocket

the very second the first shot was fired.

There was no need for a second shot

but the cop pulled the trigger anyway.

The ear-busting report tore the night to ribbons.

Every tenement window was a scream.