Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Match

on the days the dark is vanta vicious
enough to swallow whole every holy
thing like my mother and the stigmata
she bleeds from a totem of raising black

on the days the cold is cold as all get out but
there’s no place to get in when even breath is
blade and hurts to think of thinking of breathing
let alone laughing

on the days I feel frayed and ‘fraid ripped
and torn from the lot plucked from family
and ‘nem and even myself sometimes my
name is the name of a stranger

my face still the face in the hole of a
hoodie just snatched out my own world
never mine and dragged and scraped
across the rough textured parts of this
being alive thing

i’m reminded of what it feels
like to have my head alight to
have it catch fire and blaze-lick
high above me and all this

i’m reminded to return to the truth that oh
yeah me my little self a match my little
self a cardboard cutout might could burn
this whole so-called kingdom down

Credit


Copyright © 2020 by Jason Reynolds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 28, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“‘Match’ is all about the complexity of exceptionalism and responsibility in times of unrest, and how—though the spotlight and expectation can be lonely and unfair—the responsibility attached to it is still one worthy of bearing. And regardless of how one is chosen, the power of a single person, the small fire of a single mind—the poet perhaps—could change the face of a kingdom, especially one built of paper like America.”
Jason Reynolds

Author


Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds's latest books include For Every One (Simon & Schuster, 2018) and the latest in the Track series, the novel, Sunny (Simon & Schuster, 2018). 

Date Published: 2020-07-28

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/match-0