for Ken Flynn
When you were in the 9th grade and I was in the 7th, you were
a crossing guard keeping order at Junior High School number 3.
was disobedient when you wore that wide yellow strap across
no one bruised another, caused trouble, or so much as threw a
no one cracked a joke about you, a man in uniform. How did
that yellow vest feed your soul to let you know someday you’d
fly a plane just to feel the power of a strap across your chest.
liberation— to know how to be in charge— strong and capable—
flying through gunfire and lightning again and again to come
back to me.
Although we were young, you were 15 and I was 13, since then,
known the world without you. Now I must be 12.
From With (Somondoco Press, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Grace Cavalieri. Used with the permission of the poet.