Ishmael sits with his shattered arm cradled in his lap.
The dull thumping in the wrist echoes from his elbow.
Blood seeps sticky beneath his thighs.
The sun beats down through drifting clouds of cement dust.
Overhead, the grey air obscures the whistling planes,
Cutting through the aching blue sky.
Across the road, a woman rushes by;
An overturned car flares dull orange, a weaker heat.
Ishmael leans against the wall behind his head.
The bricks are hot from flames beyond.
Across the way the woman is gone.
Ishmael blinks to clear the sweat from his eyes.
Below, his spoiled arm begins to itch.
He runs his fingers throughout the loose flesh,
Seeking the place to scratch.
His fingers are cut by hidden metal, like glass in the mud of a river bank.
Above Ishmael, the planes roll and race, glistening.
The sky is blue. The heat of the sun, comforting,
As chills race through this scalp and legs.
Across the way, a bird sings frantically.
—Photo credit: jenny downing/Flickr