Back in the World: Commuter Student


four months stateside



Jo Lee Passerini, Poetry


The road says nothing but I told you so,

with roadkill, traffic, kids on skateboards, trash.

If they would take him back now, he would go.


He speeds the car through crossings (Stop means Go).

New streets each day: his path, a ragged gash.

The road says nothing but I told you so.


Push-ups, sit-ups, and a mile in six, to show

he can. His pack holds ankle weights and hash,

(if they would take him back now, he would go)


peas, canned soup, and all his textbooks too.

With fifty pounds, he hikes four miles to class.

The road says nothing but I told you so.


Today: another bomb that doesn’t blow.

A bloated dog. The gutter’s fast-food trash.

If they would take him back now, he would go.


He runs. The cadence even cherries know

is your-left, your-left: a bloody parachute, a crash.

The road says nothing but I told you so.

If they would take him back now, he would go.