On a first meeting I asked,
what do you do for a living
and there was silence.
I asked again,
just to fill the empty spaces
before he said
with a pause
do you mind?
Once painting a house
for a distinguished government man
I pulled a bed out from the wall only
to discover soft padded metal rings
chained on every corner,
what are these I asked
not socially for I was really curious.
I didn’t need to know, he told me,
hiding the padded handcuffs
deep under the covers.
All socialization gone
I yelled foul mouthed
fear filled obscenities
when homeboys in their stolen car
ran the little sedan straight at me
no divergence, no variation in line
just the screech of the oil pan
the spray of hot oil
hissing onto the street
as it hit the tall barrio curb.
they meant to kill me,
not thinking of the pain
the small deaths
Today my ignorance’s frighten me.