Neighbors told me his name was June Bug.
He was as black as any black man ever is.
Two years younger than I.
Liquid brown depths of kindness. I saw that
in his calm eyes and quiet way.
I don’t know how he tied up beetles.
They said he got his name because as a kid
he captured June bugs, iridescent scarab
beetles, under a flashlight at night
in his family’s vegetable garden.
With black thread he tied a beetle
to each of his ten fingers.
He held his hand so beetles would flop-fly
around his forehead. Maybe those boys fooled me.
Their story made him smile, small and shy.
I trusted him. If tethering bugs
contradicted kindness, I didn’t ask
or wonder then.
I think of him when people discuss
what color Jesus was or I see
an airbrushed Jesus on a wall.