I saw a boy today in a crowd
somewhere rich like the ‘Merican
towns we dreamt of in our parents’
backyards  these  the same
we foxholed into when our
fathers came home drunk
or never left home but came
up drunk anyway  here  we
looted shrimp into our pockets
and slammed dominos on ply-
wood like the older boys
and the men who came from
out the seas  today  he stood
in the crowded Betterhope market
like it was someplace fancy
shield over his chest and Vaseline slick  
he was grinning  I thought  or
wanted to  with Purpleheart splintering
his hands  he held a bat  and a
Kooroo marble and all the good
things I could remember of him
in his heart  still yet whole
white buckta parading the streets
as if he wore a tuxedo and a mask
and a mask and a mask and my name


Ian Khadan

Poet's Commentary:

This poem is in memory of Praim-Vishal Singh who died of a rare heart defect at the age of 8. He was approved to travel from Guyana to the United States to receive the medical procedure he needed to correct the defect but died just weeks before he was scheduled to leave. Shortly thereafter, at the age of 9, I immigrated to the United States.