The Patient Ones

I’m staring out the window, but this is not my father’s depression

recalling fist fights I had in common with the masses
            and being stared down by the non-homeless in disgust

waiting for the ink to dry on smog come down

                                             flesh of my flesh

My father died tired of my pain

Cotton comes to the family structure

See me now 
a window-apparition 
of a Bantu pope 
on the right side of power

I went to my maker only to find God
            playfully singing, “. . . my back will be to you too”

retelling of ambulance-found language

A soldier’s handling of body image
Or the gist of candlelight

the community is now jumping
throwing Baldwin his books
as he sits on the rafters taking requests
saying, “Gather around. I will set the sun for you.”

over outstretched hands of standard incarceration 

Copyright © 2023 by Tongo Eisen-Martin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 20, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.