Evie Shockley Poems

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— Shall Become As —

you put this pen
in my hand and you
take the pen from you put this pen

Where Is It Clean

when your mother can rise from her place
on the pew during the early service,

early enough that the sun barely fills the sky


i cop a squat on a squared-off log,
to watch you ball on the community center court.
butt numb, i shift my weight

Her Tin Skin

i want her tin skin. i want
her militant barbie breast,
resistant, cupped, no, cocked

Where You Are Planted

He's as high as a georgia pine, my father'd say, half laughing. southern trees
as measure, metaphor. highways lined with kudzu-covered southern trees.


My father: younger, handsome, downright square,
eyes like brown buttons fastening his face
over his soul, mouth not too straight to swear,

On New Year's Eve

we make midnight a maquette of the year:
frostlight glinting off snow to solemnize
the vows we offer to ourselves in near

only 3 of 100 black boys
entering kindergarten will graduate college—
in the night sky, shooting stars

A Sonnet For Stanley Tookie Williams

All month this country has careened toward cold
and winter's celebrations: what a star
announced—a birth—and then a chance to fold

Notes To My Nieces (Or, Essays In Fortune-Telling )

when i was younger, trees
were green, money was green, money
grew on trees, or trees grew up

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