Day 5 of 30

SUNDAY QUARANTINE

something about the strange way it serves
as beginning and end, cross of rest and ready,

or maybe because it lives as praise in the throat
of almost every history and is the namesake
of every god,

or because it’s the only time breakfast
tastes like breakfast and not
like jet fuel, and this cheap sofa

actually seems soft enough to break the bottom
half of my face into a smile, even in exile.

Day 4 of 30

SIGNS (working title)

you used to track wet
prints of shoe sole, intricate
chevron across the hardwood

and when i’d repay the visit
i’d hang my wet socks
over your shower bar

there was never any rain
but always water and
for us always liquor or

something to make us laugh and
joke about who we’d never want to be
trapped on a deserted island with

Day 3 of 30

YOU KNOW YOU KNOW YOU KNOW for Bill Withers

my mother always said he sang like he wasn’t
no light-skinned man. said his voice walked
a flat line, no nonsense, no running, just
a stand and deliver, sermonic, part your hair
kind of tone, like that west virginia coal
caught in his throat and blacked it up something
serious. up there strumming like a folkie,
but he ain’t no folkie. he our folk, for sure.

Day 2 of 30

SAP

all my life my father has been a hundred-year-old
tree, even in his thirties and forties. always
sturdy and thick-barked and impervious to sway.
his limbs never swinging. his leaves ever brown
and dry. an agro-alarm. he’s always needed to hear
when people are coming close. he’s always needed them
to know whose ground they walk on. whose roots they
stand on. his life a perpetual fall, brisk and
beautiful but not without signs of winter.

and recently, we that used to nest in him,
we his chickadees, who taloned his harsh and hung
upside down and pecked at his bark for years,
searching for sweet, have discovered sap.

it is sticky, and we are concerned
about what has gotten into him.

And…we’re back! It’s National Poetry Month AGAIN! Day 1 of 30

Before we begin, I don’t want to pretend like I’m not being emotionally and mentally affected by all that’s going on in our world. But this is the only way I know how to process. So, I can’t promise you these all wont be about the coronavirus. I’m hoping they won’t. That being said…let’s get to it.

 MODEL

my mother hasn’t seen my face in
some time and it’s turning our
nightly phone calls into painting sessions
where she tries to see if she can
catch the curve of my jaw, the worry
weight in my wooly cheeks, the new
growth and extra half inch of hair,
the one that stress broke off.

I tell her I haven’t been drinking or
at least I haven’t been drinking much,
and she thins the paint around my stomach,
turpentines the pot from my belly and
says, that’s good to hear.

I say I’ve gone to get groceries
and she dabs her brush in the black
and does a wash which will suffice
for the t-shirt she knows so well
and the jeans and sneakers,
and the hoodie she used to be
concerned about, all
from the timbre of my voice.

It’s a rough. An idea. But still something
to hang on the wall and marvel at until morning.
But before we say goodnight, before she
rinses the brushes, I say again,
with great uncertainty,

I’m alright, but are you?
And I know she hears the fear in my voice
I know she’s painted the furrow
that seems to go on forever, but instead
of yes or no, she says,
you haven’t seen your mother’s face in
some time and have forgotten
what you look like.

Day 30 of 30

RECLAMATION OF ROPE

yarn braided together
brother we are fiber
sister we are strand
tensile tough twisted
around throat and
threat brother sister
we can gnaw the apple
from adam snatch his
voice from his neck
us as rope it will fit
perfectly in this
together-mouth I am
certain will not knot

Day 29 of 30

FISH DINNER

my mother was frying fish
today and i hate when she
fry fish because the stink
get all in my cotton like
summer funky or cigar and

i say why you always gotta
stink up the house when i
gotta go somewhere and don’t
wanna show up humming of
catfish and grouper and

sizzlin’ old grease from
last week’s fry and she say eat
boy shut up eat because love
sometimes gotta smell like
fish to feel like full belly