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May 2013
Turns out the King of the Projects
couldn’t even tie his shoes.
Couldn’t draw or make love.
Hell could barely even read
and definitely didn’t know how to sing the blues.

Turns out the King got his crown
after two and half games of basketball
on the weedy court at sundown
the day before his tenth birthday.

Turns out the King was the roughest,
toughest, scabbiest fourth grader
in the whole **** grade, raised
from good Somalian stock and
willing to sucker punch kids
darker than he.

Turns out the 4 ft 5 King of the Projects
stood mighty tall over the
class pet ferret, ephemeral
creature of habit,
watched the
rodent with eyes peeled as if the two
shared the same beating
heart boombox.

As it turns out,
every day at noon we had music
but the drums were always
taken by the King who
pounded a steady beat to the
shake shake shake of
the music teacher's 'script
of benzos, eyes still glued
to the ferret, seeking a ritualized dance.

Turns out the class pet escaped last week.

Turns out the King stopped coming too.

Shame really. As the teacher, I felt I had
to have something to say to him.

Turns out I was just as scared as he.
Joshua Martin
Written by
Joshua Martin
   Taru M
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