I never wanted to stand

on a wooden box like the dead

live in. Pound my fist into

my hand like a snake

ingesting its tail. As though

my people might actually

waken. I grip a mike gently

as a grenade. I was born into

a ghetto garden with a broken

bat and a busted window:

two people inside—

an ambulance screaming,

hands like rubber balls.

If anyone was around, it was

sometimes for good. Bonding

over baggies in a trunk,

bread swept from a corner

store. Then, I wanted to talk

softly, to not be seen, and

I’d sit in the deep wooden

seats and ignore the vacuous

ceiling. Whisper repeatedly.

What a relief, no one would

respond. Now, here I stand

like a fabulist who favors

everyone, and they—the dead

in my head, the hopeful

in the street—will have

to say something.

Copyright © 1999 – 2020 Juked