Issue 5 / Poetry

Poetry by Ryan Black

Skip To My Lou

Junior hustles near The Showboat

playing Bitch for sneakers.


He’s got a handle, can go left or right,

through you or over you. They call him


Man-Child or Sweet Sweet-Jesus or

Skip-To-My-Lou because he stands upright


and skips down the court daring you

to reach. When his daughter needs milk,


Junior plays for dollars. He’s got eyes

like wet cement. Sticking Junior is like


finding your name in a graveyard.



Ryan Black has published previously or has work forthcoming in AGNI, The Journal, Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. He was a Norma Millay Ellis Foundation Fellow at The Millay Colony for the Arts. He is the director of undergraduate creative writing at Queens College/CUNY. Selected by Oliver de la Paz.

Image © David Groehring via Flickr Creative Commons.