in these times

signs that read we back the badge
sprouting up in yards of this 93% caucasion city
as i run along subdivision streets
and in these times, in this context
it’s difficult to not read this as saying
black lives never mattered and they never will
_______

how i thank the day for its gray as i run through it
for the way its clouds hold in the heat, meaning
it doesn’t take much movement
in these 40some degrees
before i am unzipping my fleece and tying it
around my waist
_______

granola snackers anonymous i joke about what the GSA acronym stands for
and nica, 16, explains the presentation she and the rest of the 
gay-straight-alliance put on for teachers at her high school
whose topics included things such as
not making assumptions about the gender of someone’s partner/date based on the perceived gender of that person and
a discussion/go-around on pronouns
which, in suburban wisconsin, is a remarkable and unexpected moment
_______

the round and iced ring of kringle
revealed under its wax paper
on kitchen table
_______

the shine of izzi’s trophies all lined up and
i ask her if she misses dancing
_______

izzi and i taking turns djing a song or two
while she brushes on glitter and shadow and sometimes
tilts my head up by nudging it up at the chin
spicy she says of the gem-and-the-holograms look
and spicy i say would be a great name for your salon

_______
the rattle of the boggle cubes
inside their plastic case as we shake and
the tick tick of the scattegories timer as we
try our best to think of words that begin with N or K or C and
the ridiculous jokes that we toss out
and how our laughter lands alongside the
redpink plastic snack bowls from which
we can’t stop picking,
mom, dad, chris and i 
at the kitchen table on doverhill

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