Before You Stepped on the IED
Mama gave you coins from the mayonnaise jar
and sent you to the bakery. She said, “Avoid Avo
the thief at all cost. He’ll take your bread money
and give you a stolen pack of cigarettes.” You took
the shortcuts: the opium alley, the slaughter house,
the pulverized railroad track, the gamblers’ garage.
You slithered under the barbwires at the Bab Idriss
Square checkpoint, weaved through the dead
fig trees, and reached Simone’s Bakery before
the downpour. Mosquitoes attacked you by the mosque.
Ominous clouds gathered overhead. You didn’t blink.
You stuck your tongue out and tasted the rain.