Lucien Darjeun Meadows

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.


Lady's Slipper

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.


Lucien Darjeun Meadows was born in Virginia. His poetry has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ecotone, and Quarterly West. An AWP Intro Journals Project winner, he has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and recognition from the Academy of American Poets. Lucien lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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