Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Photos used with permission from the Academy of American Poets

Last updated:
November 19, 2017
Lori M. Cameron, editor

Passing Through – Janet McCann

I’m passing through a rundown neighborhood
in Niles, Michigan, paused at the intersection
when a heart-stoppingly beautiful girl
maybe nine or ten, with wild amber hair
glides across the street in front of me
on a battered scooter, boys around her age
chasing after her. She is laughing and doesn’t see
the tossed beer cans, the jacked-up cars
and car parts, sagging porches, boarded windows
as she shoots on down the street, her hair
a great trumpet behind her. I get only
this one glimpse: bare feet, glorious hair, perfect
face, torn jeans, oversize
t-shirt flopping. That small foot—what about nails? Glass?—
rhythmically pounding the street. She’s leaving, she has left
the boys behind, she whips around
a corner and is gone. A honk behind me
and I start up, but sending her a blessing:
May you never see it, may they never catch you,
may you rocket on
out of there.

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