On the Cooling Board
Your logic can be overtaken by your sense as a parent.
New York Newsday, Sept. 2, 1985
Cardboard cut to mean a grave; pall
and procession, the boy holds his breath
like a seal. Keep still, she says—his mother—
a prompt. He throws his leg over the makeshift
box, shuts his eyes. Greasepaint, talc. Rubberneck,
and their doubt’s laid bare: Save Our Kids,
Keep AIDS Out. South Ozone Park, P. S. 63.
Not the faith-stung or poor, but a disheartened
class. Placards spy the walkways. Lucky one,
keep still. Your likeness is enough
to fool this world.
Ryan Black’s poems appear or are forthcoming in AGNI, Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He was a Norma Millay Ellis Foundation Fellow at The Millay Colony for the Arts. He is the Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing at Queens College/CUNY.
This poem is previously unpublished.