Art by Amy Wheaton

I write this from a device
I can’t afford

the bitten Apple
that released
the standard way to control

if you click to navigate,
a white glove is summoned,
but why not a bare hand,
is that too intimate

like the fingertips
of the King of Pop,
the first to show
his skin changing color

the glove worn to cover
the condition owning his body

the gloves worn
by Mickey Mouse
as a contrast against his blackness

Walt said they made him look more human

illustrators drew
Michael as the Mouse
on the Rolling Stone cover
and next to his glove
the words, the physicist who turned his back
on the bomb

Disney stuck an explosive
in the mascot’s mouth,
lit it up, then pop,
smiled at his blackface in the mirror

so much of our selves
are in our fingers¹

the pointer, the most sensitive,
is also called the trigger,
and the middle finger is used
when we snap

psycho, I’m liable to go Michael, Jay

The Fire Next Time
from a Negro Spiritual couplet:
“Mary Don’t You Weep”

I am her
and my white colleague
depicted Black Madonna
as Sambo Art

I drive myself to work
and see a mouse-head balloon
deflated against a white picket fence–
I can’t tell if its Mickey or Minnie,
the only difference between them
are those lashes

made into tortured characters
to entertain the masses

the effects appear in pieces
so I write
to make sense of our separation

the lines drawn
to stop the first nuclear family,
to stop a touch
that sparks a nation

the power of God
is in that finger

like Michelangelo’s
near touch between God and Adam,
often misinterpreted–
Eve is the one reaching,
look how she holds his arm–
God is the channel between two lovers,
he’s clad in pink and carried

Chantel Tattoli in The Paris Review:
our fingerprints formed
from touching the walls
of our mother’s womb

the ridges of fingertips
like furrows in plowed fields

crop circles in flesh
as proof of our existence

they may trap our bodies
but they can’t trap our spirit

the first wife understands
what holding hands
means in a marriage

the first owner of Apple
said, how are we going to communicate this,
we’re gonna use our fingers,
[it] works like magic

in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,
a black servant falls asleep,
while his dream self rises up,
and ascends to the top of a formation–
it ends with the master lashing him
for his attempt to use power

he wears a red robe, blue hat and white stars

United States President Trump
called a majority-black district
a rodent infested mess
where no human being would want to live

a black man made his home on the sidewalk,
his pillow patterned with an American flag
and a silhouette of Mickey Mouse,
red, white and blue flashes at the end of the block,
one boy rolls by saying, for one man, they got 5 cops

Chappelle said:
that’s how they get us,
fitting all the descriptions…
I tell you who I blame,
it’s those sketch artists

feared for the power sensed
underneath the surface,
don’t we seek from an outlet
in the house wall
where the mouse lives

Naked Science:
the rise of the mammal
through the mouse,
the same qualities that kept them in the bottom
sent them to the top

our defining characteristic–
we develop
inside the mother

where I am
is Holy Land
and the happiest place on Earth

I’m now a faculty
at a school known for animation 
and run The Battleground program
to empower black children

one night after a session,
as I get my clothes from the dryer,
there’s a folded white
piece of paper
on which I wrote, mouse
from Personify This,
a game I created
for teaching

I had stuck it in my pocket
and here it tumbled out,
the penciled word
surviving the wash,
the detergent,
the spins,
and all that heat
¹Tattoli, Chantel. “The Surprising History (and Future) of Fingerprints”. The Paris Review, 16 May 2018,

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