It’s 10 PM Rocha, in a cold wind you stand guard, sentinel from the old days,

standing in the shadows on the front steps of City Terrace Elementary,

but I catch your silhouette from the street light on the corner of CT & Eastern, as I drive by like I usually do, Rocha,

I see you like I always do, Jack in the Box drink on the top step, all chubby (the same age as me) now, your face taut and thick

your ponytail gone thin, gray and straggly down your back, it’s cold staring at the Eastern Avenue traffic in the dark—

but you got a thick black jacket and a steely look on your face, as if to say, “Yeah, they shot me and so what? I’m still here.”

They shot you, Rocha, and so what, you’re still here—but does your mom know where you are? She was our hostess,

“den mother” to our cub scout troop when Sixto and my brother were both still alive—I doubt you’d remember

that later you sold my brother angel dust when you were dealing out of that house, and we never saw your

mom again after that—did you tear up her last dreams and throw them in her face? Or is this her last dream:

you standing in the shadows at 10 PM Sunday night, with that look on your face like, “So, your brother died last month from this shit, so what?

You ever bump into my mom, tell her I’m still standing here.”