mornings

(a poem about mothering. in honor of my late grandmother, patsy johnson, who made sure i didn’t walk through this life uncovered after my mother passed away.)

mornings,
sunlight is a cruel authority.
my bones whisper one word:
“buckle.”
then the ocean-tide
of your sleeping breath.
the heartbeat of you.
i defy my skeleton’s
seductive stasis.
i move.
it does not matter that this
isn’t joy.
this is the slick-stout medicine
of what is.

mornings,
knees groan, feet swell,
and the warm architecture
of your forehead
instructs me: move.
this is no whimsical aching
in the blood.
no sweet thing.
this is the unquivering jawline
of a million women,
comprising the hand of God.
this, hard and simple.
because you are here,
i move.

girls while

girls:
while you are young,
be the first to find your body.
unearth:
– arcs
– thresholds
– creases
– weeping
study and know
your flesh,
all goldenrod and godwrought.
let a man
discover it for you,
and you are sentenced
to years
of un-enslaving yourself
from his breath
his hands
the version of you he craves –
better to offer a map
of your borders, clearly drawn.
make him thank you
for every skin-trail
he is allowed
to walk

don’t

(happy valentine’s day! i’m actually not cynical about love [anymore] but i genuinely like this poem. i’d love to hear your thoughts on it! )

men

wearing innuendo

blunt as old blades

suggest

as a way of flirting

that i should write poems

for them:

smiles wide as memory,

voices winking seduction.

they do not know

how their blood will taste

flooding underside of tongue.

they do not know

my poems are my weeping

my ancestors

my vulgar spilling menses

my alchemic reckoning.

they have never smelled

their flesh

curling under flames

like a heavy lover,

the sweetness

of their bones smoking to soot,

and i do not tell them

either.

i say, ‘i will show you

the man for whom

i wrote many poems.

ask him when you meet him.’

i say, ‘ask him what

he lost in the fire.

ask him the fire’s name.’