THE BOY IS by Junious Ward

/ / Issue 20

Public Enemy at full volume en route
to a New Hampshire summer, is tongue in cheek
gospel like the yellow and green colorway
Nikes dad got from the back of that pick-up,
bootleg Huey P. Newton in a Lacoste
polo shirt. Kids said fake and you got angry,
not because they poked or questioned what was real
but because you didn’t know and you should’ve.

Life lessons come at different ages for
different folks. You’re five and mom sits you down
to explain why kids made fun of you and why
you shouldn’t be ashamed. You’re fifteen and think
the only reason your bi-racial friends are
confused is because they never had that talk.
You’re twenty and curbed use of the word sellout,
opting for we’re all in this together fam.

Know there are limits, trying to prove yourself.
Hat backwards, baggy shorts and that certain swag 
you picked up from years of practice. The cute girls, 
just far enough away to think their whispers 
are safe, debate themselves: what you think he is?
You lose the point in the tennis match and you
get angry, not because they distracted you
but because they didn’t know and someone should.