Before Rebuilding, He Visits His Old Bedroom
Scream of metal when kettle caught a fire
That ran up wall into this room. Here, once,
After Father said, If you are, you are not my son,
He wrote a note and cocooned three days
That broke into voice: not angel, but Sister
Asking Will you sleep forever? Now, that mattress
A tumble of ash. Black rubber puddles of shoes,
Photographs. Journals blown from room,
Strewn across the field, caught in branches.
Yesterday, beside Ma Pearl's grapevines
Where he spent years imagining Violet,
A boy, a lover his parents would realize
Was inevitable as the holler's flood each spring—
He found our dreams
annihilate the world into Being.
No More the Counting of Marbles Instead of Crows
A black goat wheeling through fresh-planted sky,
But Father saw me as a tangle of wind,
A locust drone winging over blue hills.
He must be watched, Mother said, so I left
School for home, teacher for crow.
My sister the magnolia tree watched me
Sew leaves to skin, fill my mouth with loam,
Forget how to sing except when behind
My mask of branches. You are no longer
A child, she whispered as I dragged a bag
Of rocks toward the river, but I could not
Hear her above body changing water to stone,
This bleating inside each hollow bone.
Open field, never make a sound. What if
Our mothers could see us now. Our broad hands
Find delicate straps, blush of silver, gold.
Let me always fit in your palm. Let us
Always love right here, right here. This red land
Our blood, our death without resurrection.
But these nights—the stench of coal and oil lost
In your cinnamon body. My hands reach,
Fill with lace. The furthest place from daylight.
Click of buckshot, red flash, the chase. Always
Our fathers. Always the watching. Push your
Head lower, where petal lets down lip. What
Can we do but seek nectar where it blooms.
~return to poetry home