by Dustin Pearson

It sees the poster on a bulletin board at school:
Open casting call for black bodies, a role 
for which it is perfect. It has been asked 
for a song and dance, and so the black body 
prepares one. On the big day the black body 
finds a line outside the door and a waiting room
filled with other black bodies, which it should 
have expected. A black body goes where it’s known 
to go. It does what it’s known to do. The competition
is stiff. It always is. This role creates a riff in the pool 
of black bodies even as it appears unchanged each year
from the first showing, and remains a play no one forgets.   
The black body waits, all of them want this, it sits 
until its number is called. All eyes evaluate its display.
The black body becomes wet, small crystal beads 
gleam as they roll down its head and under its shirt.
At its core there is a churning set at an uncomfortable 
interval that distracts it, does a cold dance inside of it 
before the judges start the music. It takes its cue. 
The black body begins, claps thigh against shaky thigh 
in a cool rhythm from side to side. It snaps its fingers. 
It keeps itself on time. It lifts its voice and sings until 
it finds itself at the finish, arrived, in. There’s a white line 
at the end of every race. Once you cross, you win.