God’s a Monster
Colors make no sense. Gods and monsters chase me all the way to school. I have a lil’ sister and brother, Imani and Dominque. I’m the oldest. I’m 11 and in 5th grade. We walk to school together. We’re taught to take the main roads with no stops. But, our teachers instruct us to run, not walk, through the alleys spoiled with pipes or we won’t make it to school on time. Pipe alleys suppress the projects like a spider web trapped by a single pane window. I overheard my teachers saying that it caught my friends, Ebony and Marquis. They’re going to be stuck in the pipe until they turn 18. My mom called the landlord to fix it. We haven’t seen him in a year. The electricity was turned off in our building. I remember because a ghost pinched my birthday candle’s wish and he appeared. I colored a piece of a scab that fell off while I was talking to the yellow ring hovering in my bathtub. I imagined that an angel died taking a bath and left its halo. The piece of the scab bobbled on the murky water like a ship. I took it to school, put it under a microscope and saw all of us; mom, dad, Imani and Dominque, and me having dinner together. The colors don’t match. We read, “The Diary of Ann Frank,” last week. My classmates make fun of me when I don't have any food to eat for lunch. I wore these clothes yesterday. I cut my finger on the spider webs face once. The blood dyed it red. I imagined what it would be like to be a spider trapped by geometric shapes. I like math and science. I want to cure poor people problems. People don't realize I no longer have a mom or a dad. Dad been gone since Imani been born. Went in my mom’s bedroom to say goodbye before school and there was a blue smell. I touched her and she didn't move. Her body was cold brown. I left and came back and she hadn’t gotten up. I knocked on my neighbor’s door, but no one answered. My mom’s gone now. But she still lives under the sheets. Social services haven’t come got us, yet. I take care of us now. At night, after putting Imani and Dominque to bed, I hide in the hole behind the bathtub and act like I am Ann Frank. During recess, I ask my teacher to stay inside. I make a fort with the desks and act like I am in my hole behind the bathtub because that is where I feel human. I wish my story ended like Ann Frank. I don’t want to be white. I just want to be saved. God’s a monster who is the color of the rainbow and he hugged me today.
A flower altar chokes death’s breath from attacking the air, I kneel
to crawl my fingers through the kinky hair of someone’s son.
I touch his face erased and slip through his eyes to see – life
flash briefly, it was dark, then light slickly seeped through hole
fires of internal war that show a Black male 25 riddled with heart
–break. Thirst drank from his throat then coddled his carotid artery.
We heard time fading, a muffled voice caught in his chest said, “I’m sorry,
the man with no face, no name is no more.” I climbed out a tear in his hand,
fell backwards, prone on the median, with survival running
down my face evolved, able to breathe through bullet holes.
Rashaad Thomas is a husband, father, USAF Veteran, poet, Voices of Our Nation’s Art Foundation (VONA/Voices) Alum, who resides in South Phoenix, AZ. He is a Spring 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellow. His work can be found in a number of publications, most notably in the book Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice: Writing Wrong, Heart Journal Online, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, The DeColonizer Magazine, Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, and is forthcoming in the Columbia Poetry Review and others. He is also a member of the Gutta' Collective based in Phoenix, a group committed to sharing a Black and Brown narrative through art and poetry to give a voice to the silent, isolated, and marginalized.
A recent piece of his on the policing of Black Art: