BIG T (Poet’s Review, Dec. 1995)
Big T strides out in the damp morning air
to the schoolbus stop on the corner.
His Wellington boots gleam,
his jeans are tight,
and there’s a pack of Marlboros
rolled up in the sleeve
of his black t-shirt.
They don’t come any tougher than Big T.
The other boys step aside
and whisper behind his back
that he won’t be around much longer
once his case comes up in court.
But I hear the yelling in his house at night,
and I see the whiskey bottles
his daddy throws out in the yard.
Once I heard Big T crying
under the honeysuckles back of my house.
His little sister told me that their daddy
had cracked his belt across Big T’s face
one more time than he could take.
So I know why
he hot-wired that red Corvette
parked in the street by a big brick house.
For a few minutes on the highway,
at ninety miles an hour,
until he careened off
into a newly-plowed cornfield
in that shiny red car,
Big T was free.