Blame it / on empire.
For those of us who live at the shoreline /standing upon
the constant edges of decision / crucial and alone
- Audre Lorde from “A Litany for Survival”
With that jive bunch of turkeys in the JLA? Forget it!!
- Black Lightning from Justice League of America #173
There’s one boy on fire and another drowning. You only get to save one
for your final exam, so you lift the wet boy from the lake and don’t realize
your mistake until Superman touches down, sorry son, we can’t have
someone who chooses their own over everyone else. The boy’s brown fingers
hold tight to your emblem, leave wet impressions on your chest. Next
year the same, and the same after that. Every time you choose wrong. Blame it
on empire. Superman, his arm wrung around your neck, we’re trying
to save the world here, his eyes pure blue, confirming what you
already knew: you always save the ones never meant to survive.
“Tryouts,” a poem by Gary Jackson. ©2014 Gary Jackson. Used by permission. This poem originally appeared in Transition Magazine.