Portrait of My Father as a Young Black Man

—Cincinnati, Ohio, 1987

Rage is the language of men,
     layers of particulates fused.

     Rage is the wine
          father pours to the ground

          for men whose time has passed. Rage
          is gripped in the hands

     like the neck of a broom held tight. Rage
gets stuck in the throat, suppressed.

Rage is a promise kept.

Sjohnna McCray, "Portrait of My Father as a Young Black Man" from Rapture. Copyright © 2016 by Sjohnna McCray. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.