He yanked the child along,
six years old? dressed like him—
ebony snakeskin boots
scuttling through blaring cabs;
black bolos fluttering;
hats bobbing, black rolled brims.

Were they running late for a wake?
The father scowled. His nose
was gnarled, a boxer’s;
blond ponytail fraying, slicked.
The boy tried to keep pace—
skittered along on scuffed toes,

lurched off a curb. The man
swore, quickening his stride.
Oh not to be left behind
when all you clutch is one hand!
Was the boy saddlebag freight
flung on for aching rides?

At the light, he glanced towards me.
Brown colt-eyes, wary, full.
Let him be dashing from shifts
at the fair’s Wild West tent.
Let me not find him years on
tossed, by broken bulls.

Elise Partridge wrote Fielder’s Choice and Chameleon Hours.

THEWALRUS.CA IS FREE. If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation to the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation. Learn More »

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER. Get the weekly roundup from The Walrus, a collection of our best stories, delivered to your inbox. Learn More »

Elsewhere on TheWalrus.ca