Monday, October 10, 2005


It was one of those decisions
that had to be made
in a moment. A Puerto Rican girl
walked across the street
in front of my car.

Fifteen or so and well
on her way to beauty, her face
was fired gold in the night.
She was headed uptown
where the streets are scarred
and sad, and I remember
how dangerous it is
for a girl to be beautiful
in some neighborhoods.

I wanted to get out
of the car and run to her
rescue, a Galahad
breaking with middle age
and tired legs and heart.

Before I could do anything, though,
the light changed
and the cars around me roared
their engines and moved out
groping for something
they believed would change things.
Like everyone else,
she would have to save herself.

by Louis McKee from River Architecture: Poems from Here and There. ® Cynic Press.

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