there are moments to hold onto I forget. Sometimes,
I fear my memory, surrendering my loves’ blood-filled faces.
I keep googling names & counting obituaries.
I don’t know how long
I’ll be able to lure the bass from my throat & speak of the old days, how long
any day survives without witness.
I know how easily
time becomes a falcon whose beak spears a head
to eat the husks of those residing inside.
I cross myself before bed & stumble over my prayers to keep whole.
I listen hard & hear my organs thinning, failing.
I’m trying to learn to walk with my gaps now,
while everything is familiar to the bronze of my eyes.
To brace from what could come,
I drink the evening’s shapes—make of each a black diamond I let rest
on the bowed deck of my gut.
To keep another season from sawing through me,
I bid my bands of muscle to rescue me from time.
In the burning South we called home,
the inferno fed on snow & freeze.
After the short bones broke in my right foot,
you & I danced with two blonde, drunk women in front of a dimmed alley
where we saw one wispy man kneel & swallow another.
We fellowshipped in the late night,
Jose Cuervo Gold glowing in our guts
in the city where we were first called niggers.
We became kings then.
Do you remember our anointing?
Do you remember? White diamonds dove from above.
We wore them proudly on our cedared skin.
In the frost-strewn air our wheat-winged ancestors paid for,
seventeen lightning bugs formed tilted, flashing crowns
around our oiled scalps. The gift our buried always yearned to taste, upon us
on this brutal earth—a tiny bundle of hours where nothing wanted us slain.
Remember how it felt to be held & revel in all that good feeling?
Remember how long we combed ashes from our hides
when it died out & let us go?