Why my mother chopped off her hair,
followed me to the school bus stop
that morning in second grade,
I didn’t know. Or why
she bent down sobbing
don’t let go of my hand.
How long did we stand by the 7-11?
Other kids hushed, watching.
When the bus clunked to a stop
I climbed on last, grabbed a seat in back.
My mother outside, hand curled on my window,
her face a blur
as the bus jerked away.
The kid beside me punched my arm:
Who was that man with you
crying so hard?
I said I didn’t know.
Three times I swore I don’t know him.