glass boy

gray california is on its way to a thunderstorm
the first in decades
the first in a million years, thinks malcolm.
he walks down ocean avenue
sees silver where there should be sunlight
and a long-approaching rain.

the horizon isn’t up for much these days
no more postcards and portraits on the pier
the ferris wheel creaks and sighs like an old hamster toy in a stuffed-up cage.

malcolm watches his reflection
appearing in the windows of top shops and shoe stores
he pushes his glasses, smudged, up on his nose
and his reflection does the same.

then, a movement, not his own.

his reflection shrugs his shoulders
so malcolm does the same,
wondering where this glass boy lives
in curves of hand-blown vases
or freshly shined shoes?
in bus windows and taxicabs
or the blue song of swimming pools?
his reflection smiles
so malcolm does too,
but his mouth feels stretched
tongue pushed against his teeth.

his reflection looks behind him
toward the beachfront, windy and dry
he points, slowly. he blinks. he stares.

malcolm turns
and sees the storm approach.

a ghostly howl
with the deep, well-drawn booms of thunderclouds
the storm cackles a lightning-laugh.
malcolm ducks, pressing his face to the warm pavement
his shoelaces untied
he shuts his eyes
as the glass breaks.