June Bug

June Bug

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.

Kind eyes.

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