At the station people
pack themselves into
the subway as if prodded
by an unseen finger and
a high-school aged boy
shifts a basketball
from his left to right hand.

Then a sound booms out
and the familiar rhythm
that resembles an outdated
office machine stuck in
self-destruct mode fires
Chicka! Chicka! Chika! from
deep inside the boy’s bag.

A woman smirks and rolls
her eyes at the boy whose
head is embedded in his phone.
I want to say to the lady
at least his pants aren’t down
“gangsta” style, but then I
look again to see I was wrong.

He’s a good-looking kid
wearing glasses; he’s short
and thin and I want to believe
he’s an A-student and this is
the cloak that helps him get
back to Flatbush without being
harassed for being a student.

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