Carolyn Gregory

(for Mark)

“There’s an elevator right here”, an operator yells,
after the short fire drill decamped
all of the students from Africa, Japan
and muscled boys at the fitness club.

The kid in shorts looked like he had stepped out
of a collage — “Reclaim the Streets”
in which a helmeted cop with huge biceps
punched a protester,
the cop’s face strangely classical.

The fire engine came and went
like an artifact of a violent time
when fenced dogs snarled and anonymous boys
screamed behind fences
or circled their eyes in kohl.

The photographer knows about these things –
the little girl dressed for daddy seated next
to his big, loaded Uzi.
A teenaged girl with troubled eyes
and trembling lips murdered by her brother
though a young man sits on another canvas,
sincere with his acoustic guitar,
fingers splayed along the frets
for dear life.