What We Know About Each Other

David Moreau

Toby won’t go in the auditorium

for the noonday concert

so Ellie takes Donnie and Melinda

while Toby and I wait in the hallway.

When you’re ready, I tell him,

as calmly as I can because I

really want to hear the Schubert concerto.

Toby sits cross-legged on the floor,

rocking contentedly

and we hear the piano softly

on the other side of the wall. 

 

A group comes out a conference room

and five people settle on the benches around us.

They’ve all got name tags from schools around the country-

California, Maryland and Texas-

and I’m thinking this will be a good opportunity

for Toby to interact with people

who know how to talk to him.

 

But all five of them pull out iPhones

and bury themselves into blue screens,

completely ignoring us.

One uses a speakerphone right in front of us

and he’s not happy with the person on the other end.

Toby looks up at him like he’s got two heads

and keeps rocking.

 

I’m always thinking how our guys

need to be seen in the community

in order to be safe.

When people are kept behind closed doors

how do you really know how they’re treated?

But if no one looks around anyway,

what good does that do?