junk yard, Goodwill, crushed cans, buy-1-get-1-free, re-runs, dead leaves in the pool, no lifeguard, landlord no English, bounced check, smog check, two—no, need three jobs, back entrance, under the table, no ride after school, loud dogs, mean neighbors, no neighbors, someone died there, FOR RENT sign, up for months, rusted carts, bruised fruit, free bones, just ask, beef tongue, chicken broth, chicken hearts, clouded eye of fish on ice, fry it extra crispy, the house smells like patis and Windex and roses from the rosewater bath to heal the kidney, traffic, church is packed, late for church, not going to church, news of a shooting, news of a robbery, news of the boy raped at prom, pictures of the teens in court, animals!, those crying parents, his crying parents, Rodney King, Reginald Denny, everyone’s yelling on Ricki or Jerry or Maury or Montel and Oprah is on the cover of her own magazine, dentist office, insurance voucher, no social, permanent address, temporary address, magazines with the address torn off, it’s your first time, the handsome dentist says, he touches you and you feel special and rich and white and American and healthy and taken care of, T.C.C.I.C., keep in touch, have a nice summer, we’ll be friendz 4 forever, never change
from EXAQUA [in Zong!,]
In Zong!, M. NourbeSe Philip writes “Some—all the poems—need a great deal of space around them—as if there is too much cramping around them, as if they need to breathe.” In the first of Nine Stories, a man touches the tender sole of a boy’s foot. The boy runs out to the water then disappears. There are certain words to describe certain waves. Fugitive. Objects are not fugitive, the waves carrying them are. I’ve flown over the Pacific Ocean once—when my family moved to California when I was six. I’ve had my cards read, also only once, with the CHARIOT card blocking one thing from another. It was many years ago and I was maybe drunk and worse, the boy reading me the cards was someone who I was so stupidly in love with that my brain broke when we were together. I was all heart. He pointed his finger to the CHARIOT card and said something about how there must be something locked with the migration when I was six, something that still needed unlocking. He was right. He married and divorced his then-girlfriend and how he has two kids. She lives in one state, he lives in another. Some of that is still true. I arrive on the page, messy and edgeless.