As I'm walking home from work, two kidspass me on the sidewalk, siblings, I think,
because they show so little interest in each other,
walk one in front of the other, backpacks sagging
with books and I don’t know what else.
I look up to smile, to say hi, but as soonas they see me, they turn their eyes down,
and because I’m shy too, I say nothing.
The brother chews some after-school treat,
clutches the rest in tissue in his hand.
The sister trudges silently onward.
And then they’re gone, behind meand I see in my mind still
the gentle face of the brother, his soft eyes,
and feel a sudden surge of tenderness
towards these two children, these strangers
who are barely teenagers, and who don’t consider
for more than a passing glance
the white woman looking up at them
who says nothing, and walks on.