Observing Strangers

Gabrielle Kassel Wolinsky

Smith College

The girl with the dragon teeth

and fire folded in her red dress

orders a coffee, black, without making eye contact.

A single mother, age forty, watches her

six year old cram cake into his mouth-

wonders if he will one day treat a woman’s body

the way he treats his desserts.

The angry teen with the neck tattoo

and shaved head orders a bud light,

gets a call from the clinic; test: positive.

A veteran cracks his knuckles,

flinches at the sound.

The man running the 2014 Boston Marathon

straps revenge inside him

like a homemade bomb.

A divorced father has a dirty mouth,

a sucker punch and an appetite

for daughters.

A ninth grade teacher

reads my poem to the class-

calls it a tiny murder.