I understand my powers whenever I am surrounded.
There is only one other black face in the audience,
and we all paid the same entry price.
The white man tripping on acid wants to lose his hand in my Afro–
I had hair back then–
The white man tripping on acid wants to lose his hand in my Afro.
Only one other person sees this.
The telepathy begins in our pupils,
a whole continent of conversation
with a slight turn of the neck and a focus of the eyes.
She says, “I hate when these people try to touch my hair.”
I reply, “I know, right?”
By which I mean we’ve always been outnumbered.
Why else would we communicate with the silence of a stare?
In a room that cannot hear me, I learn the language of a closed mouth,
how to look someone in the eye and know nothing and everything.
She says, “White people can’t dance.”
We laugh. The easy joke is silent.
I know, right?
By this, I mean I have always feared a death
at hands that cannot follow a heartbeat.
Surely this power must be in our genes,
this heritable tremor, this atrophy of a fist,
this audacity of breath.
We laugh. We are surrounded.
I don’t know if this place was meant for me.
I think I can survive in the shade.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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