By Michele Bombardier
When my son tells me he was pulled over,
the son who looks like Jesus,
Catholic Jesus with lush hair, piercing eyes,
and hallelujah smile, at first I wasn’t worried.
Then, this divine son with a man-bun
and prayer-bead necklace, his truck held together
with duct tape and twine, said when he reached
for his wallet, in one swing the cop pulled his gun,
arms straight with hands clasped, yelled,
good way to get yourself killed, kid.
I cried, of course, with the cheap tears
of one bad night, a few bad dreams.
The next morning we went to the farmer’s market,
had friends for dinner, over wine and brie
told what happened, all of us, shaking our heads.
Already it’s become another family story
like the California condor that swooped over our car,
or the tree we saw, twice struck by lightening.
My White Self Tries To Imagine
Francisco, my student who is six,
shows me his hands, balled into fists,
crossed at the wrists, held tight across his chest,
says, I sleep like this so they can’t get me
and I imagine his small back against the wall,
his eyes on the door in his dark room.
I say what we say to soothe children,
pledge like the other grown-ups,
to keep him safe. I work to keep my face soft.
He looks at me without blinking,
then chews, hard, the knuckle on his thumb.
Michele Bombardier is a Northwest poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Artemis, Fourth River, The Raven Chronicles, The Examined Life Journal, Sukoon, Floating Bridge Press, Freshwater, East Coast Literary Review and many others. She earned her MFA in poetry at Pacific University and works as a speech-language pathologist in her own clinic specializing in stroke, head injury and autism.