The latest in a biweekly poetry series curated by Hanif Abdurraqib

The banter starts
innocently. Guns
‘N Roses soundtracks the booth,
packed full of fear

and his family. The man
smiles through purchased teeth
while calling me the terrorist
he sees on TV shows. I mute

myself. I have practiced to be just
enough rock.
Back home, I consider packing
my bags — full of fear.