wispy orange coils that sprout and loop,
that look as if they haven’t been washed for weeks,
that look like termites might be foraging in them,
tearing down a house or the rainforest.
Around his ears he has headphones padded the size of a
toddler’s catcher mitt, though no sound escapes,
yet he writhes and sways in his seat across the aisle from mine.
He’s new, this one. I’ve never seen him.
And still he’s the happiest person on this prison ride to the city.
He looks nothing like Sam,
yet I wonder where my son is,
what he’s doing at this exact minute,
if he’s content,
if he ever thinks of me,
or considers coming back to make amends,
restoring our family.
When I look back the kid catches my eye,
pulls one embellished headphone off his ear and asks if I said something.
I tell him, “No.”
Len Kuntz is an writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection, The Dark Sunshine, from Connotation Press. Additionally, he’s an editor at the online lit zine Literary Orphans. You can find him at http://lenkuntz.blogspot.com.