To: All Poets From: Northeastern North Carolina
It’s just getting hot,
dogwoods showering our shoulders with flowers.
I saw dead baby birds on a trail
so I know new life has arrived
lost in the survival of pine and ash. I’ll say it plainly—
we need you down here.
Yesterday, my uncle put a nail through his thumb
working for the same white man he’s worked for since sixth grade.
Last night his blood fell on the bathroom floor and made a star
he couldn’t follow.
He needs to hear your poems.
Copyright © 2020 Tyree Daye. From Cardinal (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Used with permission of the author and Copper Canyon Press (coppercanyonpress.org)