Day 23 of 30

QUESTION OF INSECURITY

what am i to do with all
the doubt that creeps and cuts my gall?

though angst and jitter can beguile,
i’d let them live with you a while.

for movement can be forward crawl,
and sound is sound if bark or bawl.

so double check, then onward trek,
for canine chipped don’t stop a smile.

Day 22 of 30

THE SHAPE OF MY BODY

a child’s drawing of
a house

square and triangle
rectangle windows
crosses to differentiate
the panes

folded into a paper
plane thrown
sometimes gently
sometimes hard
all the time finding a
wall to break the nose

it changes when picked up
it changes when unfolded
i this body i this house

a creased gobbledygook of
color under the eyes
of a giggling God

Day 21 of 30

APRIL 21, THE LIBERATION OF CAPTAINS (for Prince and Nina Simone)

y’all jumped ship
the same day thirteen years
apart leaving
us here in

choppy and shark-filled
current

our anchors are plastic
our vessel cheap tree and rag
and these days our icebergs
are in the palms
of our hands

but thinking of y’all
yes thinking of y’all
makes me feel like i could

strip naked and howl
a purple goddamn
to these slaves that call
themselves shipmates

scared of both
water and wood

Day 20 of 30

LIFE OF A PARTY

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

I SORT OF CLEANED THE HOUSE TODAY

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

SUNDAY WALK DURING THE QUARANTINE

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.