the poem begins not where the knife enters
but where the blade twists.
Some wounds cannot be hushed
no matter the way one writes of blood
& what reflection arrives in its pooling.
The poem begins with pain as a mirror
inside of which I adjust a tie the way my father taught me
before my first funeral & so the poem begins
with old grief again at my neck. On the radio,
a singer born in a place where children watch the sky
for bombs is trying to sell me on love
as something akin to war.
I have no lie to offer as treacherous as this one.
I was most like the bullet when I viewed the body as a door.
I’m past that now. No one will bury their kin
when desire becomes a fugitive
between us. There will be no folded flag
at the doorstep. A person only gets to be called a widow once,
and then they are simply lonely. The bluest period.
Gratitude, not for love itself, but for the way it can end
without a house on fire.
This is how I plan to leave next.
Unceremonious as birth in a country overrun
by the ungrateful living. The poem begins with a chain
of well-meaning liars walking one by one
off the earth’s edge. That’s who died
and made me king. Who died and made you.
There go a Black gxrl
body still tethered
to her head
There go a Black gxrl, shirt still dry
no river of marrow or tears
following her up the block
no bile from her head
Can we call her into form? not a river of marrow & small tears
of sweaty fabric, but manna & honeysuckle
from her skull no bile, but beatniks
in bloom. Can we celebrate the child on this side of the grass?
her sweat fabric, honeyed & unmanned
the gxrl young, a fresh world of gardenia
bloom-ing. Can’t we celebrate? The child’s on this side of the grass!
Open the window & usher in a new god! A breeze
gardenia-young, the gxrl a world made fresh.
in her hands—piano keys, sticks of cinnamon gum,
a window into the new. God, an usher opening
a psalm, free to be the thing she was truly made of:
piano keys. In her hands, cinnamon sticks like guns
in the wrong light—never mind that. Today she lives.
A thing to be freed. Made of psalms, & truly
holy. The gxrl will turn flowers into wine. Spills herself no more
wrong. & today, she lives. Never mind the light
offering summer halo. it is a myth, that we die, anyway. We too
holy. No more spills, no more flowers. From wine, gxrl churns herself a will.
Rises from the concrete, her arms full of clove. Her mother’s yard a throne.
Anyway, the myth is that we die. We too, summer offering. Halos
like birds on our shoulders. The gxrl, gardenia, & we planted her
full of clove & her mother. She raises a throne from the concrete, a yard of arms.
The gxrl, a god king. The gxrl, a map of good. The gxrl, a thing worth trending, after all. Just