bed calls. i sit in the dark in the living room 
trying to ignore them

in the morning, especially Sunday mornings 
it will not let me up. you must sleep 
longer, it says

facing south
the bed makes me lay heavenward on my back 
while i prefer a westerly fetal position 
facing the wall

the bed sucks me sideways into it when i  
sit down on it to put on my shoes. this
persistence on its part forces me to dress in 
the bathroom where things are less subversive

the bed lumps up in anger springs popping out to
scratch my dusky thighs

my little office sits in the alcove adjacent to 
the bed. it makes strange little sighs
which distract me from my work 
sadistically i pull back the covers 
put my typewriter on the sheet and turn it on

the bed complains that i'm difficult duty 
its slats are collapsing. it bitches when i 
blanket it with books and papers. it tells me
it's made for blood and bone

lately spiders ants and roaches
have invaded it searching for food

Copyright © 1993 by Wanda Coleman. Reprinted from Hand Dance with permission of Black Sparrow Press.

when did we become friends?
it happened so gradual i didn't notice
maybe i had to get my run out first
take a big bite of the honky world and choke on it
maybe that's what has to happen with some uppity youngsters
if it happens at all

and now
the thought stark and irrevocable
of being here without you
shakes me

beyond love, fear, regret or anger
into that realm children go
who want to care for/protect their parents
as if they could
and sometimes the lucky ones do

into the realm of making every moment
important
laughing as though laughter wards off death
each word given
received like spanish eight

treasure to bury within
against that shadow day
when it will be the only coin i possess
with which to buy peace of mind

From Heavy Daughter Blues by Wanda Coleman. Copyright © 1987 by Wanda Coleman. Reprinted by permission of Black Sparrow Press, an imprint of David R. Godine, Publisher.