Fatimah Asghar, 9 of Disks

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?