Twin Poets Al Mills and Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha perform “Monday Morning”

I imagine, you probably wake your kids up with a kiss on the forehead

Saying "good morning sunshine" as you help them make their beds

Your kids have a complete breakfast, then they go rinse, brush & floss

Put on their clean uniforms, grab their bag lunches then skip off to the garage

Then hear "I love you and have a good day" as they get dropped off

But Monday morning in my house is a little different than yours

Because somewhere on her travels home the past few nights, my mom got lost

Now I haven’t seen my mom in a day or two

There are no clean clothes or nothing to eat, so what am I supposed to do?

Yeah, I'm only 12 years old and I haven’t seen my mom all weekend

I not awaken by any I love you’s or alarm clock beeping

But by my little sister standing in my doorway asking me: what are we going to eat?

My little sister she is only 7, she doesn’t know any better

She dressed in the same dirty clothes she wore all last week

She keeps telling me she's hungry, asking me: what are we going to eat?

I say: mommy ain't here, go back to sleep

I got up around 11, while lil sis was still sleep

Hit the corner store and stole us some noodles and chips to eat

While we’re watching TV, my mom staggers back in from her long weekend

We barely looked up from our bowls, we just keep on eating

See this is Monday morning in my house

Love kept us silent—too afraid to hear the truth that might come out

Those unasked questions:

She doesn’t ask us: why we’re not in school?

We don’t ask her: where she’s been?

She doesn’t even ask: where the noodles came from?

She just asked me: to go make her some          

I said: it’s not anymore

Then I handed her my full bowl and walked out to go to the store to steal some more

As I open the door


My social worker is standing there asking me: why am I not in school?


And I say: Monday morning in my house is a little bit different than yours

From Our Work, Our Words… Poems on the pavement (Meja Books, 2015) Copyright © 2015 by Twin Poets. Used with permission of the Twin Poets Al Mills and Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha.

REASON                /               UNREASON


the brain is                 

           an unlit synagogue 

easily charted               

           in dark waters

using machines            

           it can baffle faith

& therapy        

           it can asphyxiate

don’t worry                 

           the drowning dogs

your pretty head          

           painted for the gods

it’s simple                    

           to rage & riot & rot

to manage                    

           the vacant parking lot

with the appropriate     

           knives   do what some


           can not

Copyright © 2017 by sam sax. “Post-Diagnosis” originally appeared in Madness (Penguin, 2017). Reprinted with permission of the author.