I set you free that night, father. When you came back in that yellow Volkswagen, in that dream. I made a boat of honor for you. Woven of poems and words and not words. I set it on the ocean. Father Obuna said to me, a gift is freely given and a gift is freely returned. It has taken me thirty years to understand this. Yemenya has your heart now. May she be merciful. May she love you. The wound bleeds no more. Which is to say, what I have desired is like salt left out all night and gone. This is not a lamentation, damn it. This is a love song. This is a love song. Like reggae—it all falls on the off beat. If there is a way, it is here. They say you cannot say this in a poem. That you cannot say, love, and mean anything. That you cannot say, soul, and approach heaven. But the sun is no fool, I tell you. It will rise for nothing else.
Poet of an Ordinary Heartbreak
Who hasn’t been tempted by the sharp edge of a knife?
An ordinary knife cutting ordinary tomatoes on
an ordinary slab of wood on an ordinary Wednesday.
The knife nicks, like a bite to the soul. A reminder
that what is contemplated is as real as the blood
sprouting from a finger. As real as a bruised eye.
Instead turn back to the meat stewing on the stove.
Scrape pulpy red flesh into the heat and turn.
Say: even this is a prayer. Even this.