Has danced into class every day this year.
Some days, he's James Brown throwing off his cape;
others, he's pop-locking old-school style,
moon-walking, doing the Harlem shake, or leanin' wit it.
His eyes always smile, especially when goofing
to cope with the challenge of reading. Today,
something's wrong. I pull him into the hall and ask,
why the angry look, the sulking.
Two cousins shot on their stoop last night,
one dead, he and his brother having just
gotten up to leave, having just turned the corner
to walk the two blocks home.
This world of darkness, punctuated
by muzzle flashes and numbness,
has followed him on two different buses,
across district lines, into the good school
where his mother lied to get him away from it.
He had turned the corner,
but the world he left behind now sits
at the third desk back on the right,
its shadow eclipsing his eyes.
Matt reads "Kevin":
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Matt confesses: "Kevin was a bright, creative, but needy kid at Towson High School. I identified more often with kids like him than with the majority, privileged kids at that school. His story in that hallway will always stay with me."