Amnesia kicks in
when trying to bring us
my first time riding a bus, riding
the motorized whale. Every

window, a blowhole
where I could see

how cold Michigan winters
can be. My sister and I left
from the bus stop around
the corner and then I remembered
this isn't about the first time

when my eyes gazed onto the passing
scenery but it's about how I first found

myself on the track, how I originally
was trying out for the basketball team
because niggas don't try out for track

without some origin story in football
or basketball or some other sport
that only track can condition you for. Tryouts

begat an offer instead, a thought
which was beached, on the bus

ride to our first track meet I thought
how did I end up here. All of us
wanted to be athletes since it was
what we were taught boys like us did

but we were never given any idea
of what was out there besides
shooting or throwing a ball…

…or dying.

Deonte Osayande is a former track and field sprinter turned writer from Detroit, MI. His nonfiction essays and poems have appeared in numerous publications. He has represented Detroit at multiple National Poetry Slam competitions. He's currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College, and teaching youth through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program. His first full collection of poems, Class is going to be out with Urban Farmhouse Press in 2017.

You can see more of his work in issues 3.4 and 3.4 in 3.1 and 3.1