K & I ball surrounded by trees
& the faint huff of lightning bolts.

Amidst August, the darkness occupies the park
as we occupy it, we settle the score,
shoot J’s, trip on the court’s light dew.

We recast ourselves as figures of the night—
two heavy Latinx brown men, our goals
remain the same: sweat until

we can justify our hunger.
So tonight, we choose ball & the stink

of appetite over grief.
Here, on the concrete, we plunder
the space needed for a lay-up,

decide brute strength works
as well as any other discourse.

Only the wind & burgeoning clouds,
bloated with anger,
stop us— as if the storm,

for so long hushed by our play,
finally regained its senses,
& fired its gun.

AUSTIN ARAUJO is a writer from northwest Arkansas. His honors include a Vera Meyer Strube Academy of American Poets Award and the President’s Diversity Fellowship from Indiana University where he is currently an MFA candidate. His work is forthcoming at poets.org.