University of Southern Indiana


Marcus Wicker

Maybe it’s the half
communion wafer
yellow moon in my eye.
Maybe it’s the thug wind
mingling fragrant herb
firing shots
across a synapse
that takes me back
to summer. Outkast.
“Return of the G.”
I was a bone, head
caught between middle
& high, private & public
school. Me & B.
used to run the drain
in his father’s fifths of Crown.
Used to do c sections
on Swisher Sweets, talk shit
about Rodney’s chipmunk
teeth. & deep down
I must have been aching
to knock one out. Me & B.
were rocking back & forth
on plastic porch chairs
when Ypsi’s no. 1 gossip
approached. Shelia said
Rodney was talking reckless
about my younger brother.
I inhaled a pulsing red fist
from the midsection, blew
smoke through bull nostrils,
knew exactly what to do.
We placed a few calls.
Told every teen on the block
they should come to the park
around noon. I grabbed
my pigskin, set teams
of five. B. snapped
a short bullet pass
to Rodney &
five guys nailed his back
to the grass; rained down
sharp laughs & elbows
to ribs. Teed off
on his groin.
I tried to drill a hole in his face.
Blasted my knuckles
against his incisors
again & again & again. &
I can’t go on talking
to you this way
any longer. All this time
I’ve been working up
to say something about
that liminal place between
manhood & cartooncool.
Something stupid
like that. Rodney,
I chased you through
cul-de-sacs & lawns. Chased
you west through the state
of Michigan. & still haven’t
figured out how to finish
this letter. I just want
you to know. & I understand
this is no consolation. But—
every time I’m in the heat
of a huddle. In a gym or
barbershop. When I swig
cold brews & watch
mob flicks by myself—
Rodney, you chase after me.
You kick my ass.
You nail me square
to the ground


MarcusWicker (2) Marcus Wicker was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His first book, Maybe the Saddest Thing, was selected by DA Powell for the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming from Harper Collins in October. The recipient of a 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, he has also held fellowships from Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Indiana University, where he received his MFA. Wicker will join the creative writing faculty at the University of Southern Indiana in the fall.

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