“Over Dust” by Darius Atefat-Peckham

Darius Atefat-Peckham (age 13)


She said on the news that
He did everything right.
Under smoke, he sat and
Watched a beam fall, that
Had been a foundation—

He had watched
The crane as levers moved and
Slapped through paths together. Like
Legs finding their way through a door
Knee catching on an unusual
Knick that he swears wasn’t there
Before. But he looks comfortable
An animal lying in the sun, bathing.

A greasy hand touches his cap, rings on his wrist
From years of grocery bags
Like cigarettes;
Lost from fingers.

And he nods farewell to the dispersing smoke and
Crowd, the cameras—it had settled, ruffled
By his boot fluffed and spread.

The microphone of the
Telecaster got closer, more comfortable,
As if being held by the cup of her smile.

The man stumbles through
Wreckage, toe catching on a board
Or a piece of rotted floor, and even though
I see the final collapse of boot on
Rubble, he hovers over
The wreckage, over the reporter and
Her (mic/smile) as if he had done this
So many times it didn’t hurt not to
Think, wrecked so many beginnings
That his knees gave way and collapsed
Into lost doorways, empty rooms.
Closed eyes studying a piece of wood,
Sharpened at the break.

from 2015 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

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