field son finds a way to make it on this earth
by Jason Harris
a red gusher in his mouth & a gun explodes. kids,
blocks away — monarch butterflies on the playground
— scatter. heels turn up. mulch & glass, broken, go
flying. playing kendrick’s FEAR., a cell phone is left.
hot cheeto bags & condensed pop bottles like sour milk
down the throat spill into the hungry stomachs of youth.
blue recycle bins knock over. an attempt to survive this
summer means every black body for itself. within seconds,
field son takes leave in the nearest bando. looks down
at his sneakers, knows that’s his ass when he gets home
‘cause these his good sneakers & he done been told
too many times. for no longer than a minute do these
things last. then, like that, like nothing ever happened,
the all-clear is given. older, braver kids from the ‘hood
pop up first with cicada joy after what seemed like forever
in hiding. field son runs into a cloud of gray gunsmoke.
imagines himself on stage. god, in how many ways can
a boy experience smoke? into the smoke, field son screams:
that shit was crazy, man. from the crowd of his conscience, he
hears his mama behind stage: boy, watch ya goddamn mouth
before i tell ya daddy. god, what do you call a father
who is only good for discipline? even in the opaque
smoke of the world, caterpillars still become butterflies.
field son leaps, hands first from the stage, onto a set
of monkey bars. holds tight & swings until the new
pâtisserie is built.