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Wednesday, May 20, 2020


by Betsy Mars

Ahmaud Arbery falls to the ground after being shot.

When you want a commodity, a spokesman,
team spirit, sales soaring, think fast,
think brawn, think black.

Think pounding pavement. Think
of those hard-earned calves jumping
on command. Think of a casket.

I mean a basket. A hoop, rope
hanging from its neck.
Think of a shot, circling the rim,

going down as the buzzard, I mean
buzzer, ends the game. If you train off-court
or just enjoy a runner's high, I'm sorry.

Be prepared to run, to shoulder the blame—
a steal from behind—as your muscles
strain, push off on defense. Find the hole,

cut inside. Man-to-man or zone, you don't
stand a chance. They've got the big guns,
the refs in their pocket.

Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, educator, photographer, and recent publisher whose first release, Unsheathed: 24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife, came out in October 2019. Her work has appeared in Kissing Dynamite, The Blue Nib, Poetry Super Highway, and Rattle (photography), to name a few, as well as in a number of anthologies. Her first chapbook Alinea (Picture Show Press), came out in January 2019. Her father was a professor and her mother was a social worker, and their progressive beliefs as well as her childhood years in Brazil deeply influenced her values. Her passions are language, travel, and animals; the latter two often conflict as her pets prefer she stay at home.