fresh from white kansas
me and my brothers
fought on the tarred playground,
our status dependent
on how well we punched
black and brown faces
between painted white lines.

for homework
neighborhood kids
pulled out kitchen chairs
in the dirt front yard
of our duplex,
pulled on boxing gloves
stolen from some father
and swung for the face,
practicing a prized skill.

fresh from white kansas
we were a year ahead in
reading, writing, and math.
but we had
catching up to do
in the other subjects.