My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears.
On Fridays he'd open a can of Jax
After coming home from the mill,
& ask me to write a letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Usually at the helipad
I see them stumble-dance
across the hot asphalt
with crokersacks over their heads,
I sit beside two women, kitty-corner
to the stage, as Elvin's sticks blur
the club into a blue fantasia.
I thought my body had forgotten the Deep
The old woman made mint
Candy for the children
Who'd bolt through her front door,
Silhouettes of the great blue
The seven o'clock whistle
Made the morning air fulvous
With a metallic syncopation,
A key to a door in the sky---opening
The hills my brothers & I created
Never balanced, & it took years
To discover how the world worked.
We could look at a tree of blackbirds
Zeus always introduces himself
As one who needs stitching
Back together with kisses.
At six, she chewed off
The seven porcelain buttons
From her sister's christening gown
& hid them in a Prince Albert can
On a sill crisscrossing the house
In the spidery crawlspace.
She'd weigh a peach in her hands
Till it rotted. At sixteen,
She gazed at her little brother's
Junebugs pinned to a sheet of cork,
Assaying their glimmer, till she
Buried them beneath a fig tree's wide,
Green skirt. Now, twenty-six,
Locked in the beauty of her bones,
She counts eight engagement rings
At least twelve times each day.