Boy with a Gun

We shared the sidewalk,
and he, too old for lemonade stands,
his head, so resolute it shook,
his fingers,
wrapped around the plastic gun,
his voice, too guttural
for ten years old,
shouted “Pow!”
and the arm recoiled
as I walked on past his house.

I wanted to say,
that isn’t the way it is at all.
You hear the footsteps first,
the voice is soft:
“Stop or you’re dead.”
The gun seems far too small,
winking in the streetlight.
The ring comes off too slowly,
and the boy is nervous
when he whispers
keep walking.