Kenny Carroll

& For You This: Kenny Carroll

& For You This

I was balling    at the rec finding ways past whoever thought to check me
at the top of the key    and it was going good till the grip on my sneakers threw
it’s hands up looking for a foul    my skin ate pavement    The cement
opening my leg like a notebook    The cement scrawling its name into the red page
of flesh    Back then    when my body was made of movement    and my joints
ran on sunlight    tears were always in the corners of my eyes so    I cried
Whoever stood on the court with me turning their noses up    Half of them already
knew how to stuff their ducts with pavement    had already perfected the athletics
of feeling    nothing    that could not win you a game and I    just sunny side up boy
with freshly christened cheeks    Til my cousins come over    lace the whine of
my cry up into laughter    Put a name to the pain in my leg    strawberry scars
I point out how there’s nothing sweet about it    but they’re already showing me
their own like trophies    Their bodies notebooks too    full of stories

all this to say I wrote you a poem
I picked myself up and kept playing
while blood shuffled down my knee
and I learned to do it again and again
and I have all these stories
and I have all this pain and it belongs
to whoever is willing to read it
and I have all this body that remembers blood

and I have all this blood
all these oceans of blood
I mean I’m not done with the story yet

Kenny Carroll III (Hi!) is a writer, performer, teacher, and host from DC. He was the 2017 DC Youth Poet Laureate and in 2019 received the Thomas Lux scholarship from Sarah Lawrence. His work has been featured in the Split This Rock Quarry, The Hill Rag, Mixed Mag and other publications. He’s been lucky enough to perform all over the country. He’s in love with pancakes, and the wifi in his apartment is named after his and his partner's dog, Kevin.