Gain, the bearded man tells me
& my eyes turn green. It’s November
& the color is everywhere around me.
I could forget I live in Chicago
where the winter plays a dead game,
breaks my window with its knuckles.
It’s November & nearly 80 degrees.
The trees are showing off again,
dressed up like jalaybee & caution tape.
I could forget I live in Chicago.
A few blocks south, a 9-year-old boy
was executed in an alleyway early
this week. I see him in the headlines.
The articles say they found his basketball,
the one he always carried with him
at the mouth of the street. Everywhere
children are dying. & everywhere
I see them living too. My students
whose laughter rips through the halls,
who throw their arms around me
when they walk in the door. How
can it be November & sunny?
Where did the boy go? What cloud
is holding his body? How can we
get him back? Enjoy, the cards say.
But who am I to be happy?
Who am I to be brown & alive?
Can I trade my card?
Can we get him back?