Day 20 of 30


my mother raised
her boys to braise
and braid and sew
and saw and sing and
dance and dress and
duck before the swing
and swing before the
jump and jump before
someone tell you
your place is in
a safe with no
combination and say
aint no combination
for men they only meant
to bruise and brew
and boil over and
burn and break
themselves into
futile confetti of
stars and hearts and
diamonds of all colors
which at that point
ain’t nothing but
the spilled guts of
a potential party


Day 19 of 30


it was like writing a poem.
it was like situating language,
winging where to punctuate,
wringing parts of myself out,

looking for not an answer
and not a question, but whatever
lies between like the tucked
sheet or throw pillows that

i never throw, because they’re
more than decoration, but
not really for sleeping on.
and whatever weird exercise

is between mop and sweep, but
not dust. and not wash and not
dry, but more in the lifting
of a greasy pot to the faucet.

Day 18 of 30


another day,
another walk,

this time more than a
mile, up through
eastern market
where white people
and me pretended
it was just another
day, and these masks,

bandana for me,
was just the season’s latest
surgery or handbag or filter.

are you open sir? then, why
are you open sir? well, don’t
answer that because i’d like
to order but first i need to

kill what might have made a
home on my hands.

and then up pennsylvania
past the post office,
left at the nation’s library,
down third through the
joggers and dog walkers
and tricyclists and
grandparents because
only grandparents live
around these parts.

stepped into the street like
wearing my grandmother’s
feet and this is about our
other virus, the one that
is our heartbeat, and palpitation.

then waited at the corner
at constitution.
a masked man held the
hand of a woman.
he nodded. i nodded back,
smiled behind my bandit
cloth. his cheeks lifted
his mask slightly above
his chin.

jason he called out.
paul, i replied,

affirmed that i could recognize
a friend just by looking in his eyes,
and happy he could recognize me
even with a matcha latte in hand.

Day 16 of 30


Maybe first we’ll poke our heads out
and see if anyone else is poking their heads
out. Birds lifting their beaks over the lip
of the nest. Pry our eyes open in the sun.
Look left and right. And ahead at the house
across the street where Ms.Hawkins lived
before a while back when I don’t want

to talk about it. Maybe we won’t want
to talk about it. Or read about it.
Or dream about it. Or sing about it.
Like a baby unable to recall birth,
like a spirit unable to tell us what
dying is like. Maybe we will feel strangely
cleansed, but not enough to shake hands

but enough to smile at the neighbors
that bother us. Enough to laugh at the jagged
hedges that have grown unruly around the doorway
of our faces. Maybe we will listen to the party being
had before the party we inevitably throw,
the birds lifting their beaks over the lip
of the nest, chirping new, after pecking through eggshell.

Day 15 of 30


there are days when I
have to return to the pad
when the home row don’t
feel much like home and
enter feels like exit
and shift feels like
a step too many to dollar sign
ampersand question mark
ampersand exclamation
ampersand asterisk

*and it makes me mad that
delete is so easy but
esc don’t really do nothing.

Day 14 of 30


my mother
told me
today she
took a walk
and called
my father
to check
on him and
his wife

this walk
must have
been more
like a
back home
where love
looks less
like seventh

grade sit-downs
talks and
grit teeth
and more
like fucked
up forever
don’t mean
friendship ain’t
still fortune

Day 13 of 30


from inside
i watch nature
bloom hallelujah
and put on a concert
a ballet an opera
for an audience
who for a change
sits in their
seats and for
a change watches
a show they’ve been
in for years but
never seen

Day 12 of 30


the thing is
i too have risen
and still feel
the holes there
both dead and alive
supreme somber this
sunday i wonder

when they gon’ come
see about me

when they gon’ roll
away my stone

Day 11 of 30


and at 4am in the
blackness of exhaustion
my body is a carnival

in the middle of the
desert the carousel on
automatic the horses

saddled by yesterday
and what needs to happen
at 9am and next year

keep smiling that
chompy cheese keep
smiling that toothy threat.