The Brother From Another Planet came back
to Earth one day, but this time as a sixth-grader.
Out on the playground, the other kids didn’t
want to let him in on their game of basketball—
because he was new, his skin was a different color,
or perhaps just because they had some power
over him and couldn’t resist the temptation to
see that power in action, in order to verify that,
indeed, they did exist.
The Brother hung around on the outskirts of the game,
chased the ball for them when it went careening away,
tried to make himself useful, pleasant. But the other boys
just smirked and left him sitting on the sidelines.
Then one day the Brother had enough. He rose up
to his real height of 10 feet tall, both heads
full of sharp teeth, claws glistening
in the afternoon sunlight. He said,
“Give me the ball, boys—now.”
They gave it to him, for sure, screaming
as they ran away. The national guard was called,
the Brother captured, sent back home.
Several of the boys understood that they had been
the root of the problem, but the others couldn’t see it.
They grew up to be councilmembers, businessmen,
pillars of their community, defenders of the American
Way of Life. But they never forgot the vision of
the 10 foot tall Brother and, at night, they remained
locked in their homes, rifles at the ready,
while many light years away,
the Brother played basketball with the stars,
shooting hoops through the rings of Saturn.