Just a Boy by Julia Schmitt-Palumbo








There was a boy who lived a few doors down

in the smaller one with red brick

and a faded yellow door.


His laugh rang out like gunshots

the day he tried to set

that wooden barrier on fire.


When the fire truck came with its

sirens blaring he tried to open it

get inside the flaming cinders and hide.


And we had to call for a second

ambulance to get him out of

that burning hellhole.


I saw him three years ago

buying something from the deli

his face was worn and weathered


and I could see the burn marks on his hands.

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