Lavender Menace Adopts a Black Boy

In summer black boy burns. Say,

black boy takes shelter. Imagine

summer camp. Black boy afloat

in Lake Michigan. Black boy

piñata. Black boys dance. Death drop.

Black boy could be a first cousin once

removed. Black boy would be ten now.

Or twelve. Black boy looks

like a father he’s never seen. Black boy

is a grandma’s boy. He is amalgam.

Black boy is dragonfly: brilliant, iridescent,

conspicuous in flight. 24,000

ommatidia. Black boy is anther

and filament. Black boy is a tyger,

tyger. Adopted black boy is a steal.

$17k. Black boy is waiting. Is chicken

chest. Black boy is grandfather clock tall. Black

boy is never a clock tower. Black boy

is egret wings. Is flying. Is his father’s

arms. Black boy is lisp and puppy scented.

Black boy is whipping boy.

Black boy is billy goats gruff. Black boy’s first

home is ragdoll, is a closet corner,

is tender purple. Black boy is plum pit,

walnut hull. Black boy is curupira.

Black boy is a dark city, is an open

window, is a roving squad car, is crashing

glass and song. A single black boy is the

softest avocado in the market.

A black boy is confetti. See his locked

hair fairy. See his smile shatter light. See him

shake in his new bathroom. See him wash

his hands and brush his teeth.

See the little boy explode into laughter.


Cover Art by Stephanie Broussard


Maya Marshall

Maya Marshall is a writer and an editor. Author of the chapbook, Secondhand (Dancing Girl Press, 2016), she is also co-founder of underbellymag.com, the journal on the practical magic of poetic revision. Marshall has earned fellowships from MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, Callaloo, Cave Canem, and the Community of Writers. She works as a manuscript editor for Haymarket Books and has served as a senior editor for [PANK]. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2019 (University of Virginia Press), RHINO, Potomac Review, Blackbird, the Volta, and

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