» Poetry

the reckoning

CPH said, “too many” can be as few as three—

the magic number exposing how the trick is done,

light shifting from the blonde assistant to hands

concealed in the dark. the advertiser’s golden ratio

of aggregate melanin. the progressive tipping point

where the cool is lost from chic restaurants, the polish

from AP classroom. where they no longer feel

embarrassed for confusing Eunice for Jackie

for Miki. Julio for Erik for Hugo. where “diverse”

slippery slopes to “awkward,” “ghetto,” “overrun,” or

silent blue-eyed glances. the not flaxen straw

breaking the tolerant’s back. it’s a quaint thought.

but experience shows “too many” can be as few as




Matthew E. Henry

Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is the author of the poetry chapbooks Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag) and Dust & Ashes (Californios Press). His full-length collection, the Colored page, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. The editor-in-chief of The Weight Journal, MEH’s recent poetry is appearing or forthcoming in The Main Street Rag, Massachusetts Review, The Museum of Americana, New York Quarterly, Ploughshares, Poetry East, Shenandoah, and 3Elements Literary Review. MEH’s an educator who received his MFA yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education. You can find him at www.MEHPoeting.com writing about education, race, religion, and burning oppressive systems to the ground.