Volume 22, Number 1


for Truth Thomas and the students at Homewood

Drew’s battling in the Danger Cave.
His rhymes are retracting metal claws he swings
at holograms that lunge at him.
Disappointments are collapsing walls
he backflips to avoid. Sometimes I wonder
if you have to be an acrobat
to survive America. The way she treats me
I might as well have an X-gene.
Just the other day, when a police cruiser
followed me for several blocks,
my heart was a speaker with the bass
turned up. Sweat beads poked out
like the heads of nosy neighbors. I might’ve
been tempted to teleport somewhere else,
or shapeshift to something safer, how the students
at Homewood might wish they were seen
instead of as adversaries.
Truth says they need what we bring them
every Tuesday, and I remember his ruby quartz
battle visor glowing when what he emits
sets off an optic blast in their minds
that has Bryan’s stanzas shooting out
like playing cards and Amelia levitating verses
in the telekinetic air.

—Alan King