For the Officer Who Put the 8-Year-Old Boy in Handcuffs

I want to talk about your body.
Though your jaw is the first thing
to notice, sharp-lined like an arrow,
let’s start with your hands — how heavy
the hulk of your palms as they retreat
from the shoulders of the boy.
I want to talk about your arms, settling back
at your sides, the mass of muscle against
your navy sleeves. And your lips,
cracked and dry from the cold, closing
into a pursed, even smile — the winter air
forming a fleeting cloud of whatever
you’ve said to him. I want to talk about
your body, so I don’t have to talk about his.
Let’s discuss your eyes — pale green, resplendent
in the lights of the cruiser. I want to discern
their temperature­ — indifference or care,
so I don’t have to note his face, if there are tears
as bitter as the evening’s threat of snow. I want
to consider the whole of you, so I don’t have to speak
again and again about his small beauty —
his short legs, folded crisscross-applesauce,
swimming in those purple sweatpants,
his knees bouncing to a rhythm
in his memory. I want to talk
about your duty, your incident log,
the end of your shift, so I don’t
have to mention his memory.

What will he remember —
Your frozen breath on his cheek, the song
that repeats in his head, the blurred face
of a woman who crossed the street
and walked away?

Thing is an Amen

“I am trying to make / a poem that listens / some space.”