When you’re driving a van filled with middle schoolers
and a boy in the front seat starts singing
I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man
let him finish.
When he’s done,
a girl from the back seat will turn and say
“E-’s the man y’all.”
You’ll all laugh together.
E-’s excitement will blind him though.
Dancing in his seat and sculpting the words
out of air, he’ll forget about calling his mom.
So, he’ll go one extra stop with you
and you’ll hear him say into his phone,
“Yeah, mom I was singing and I’m almost finished with
my short story.”
She’ll pull up in a Carola,
her gray afro more motherly
than anything you’ve ever seen,
and he’ll sprint toward hersmiling under the streetlamps.