Poem 61 ± August 4, 2015

Ryan Black
On the Cooling Board

Your logic can be overtaken by your sense as a parent.
Michele James
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 BlackRyan 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This poem is previously unpublished.