Day 24 of 30


we would joke about how
we’d all grow up and have daughters and daughters would be some kind of penance for the sins of sons

like we aint have mothers
like we aint know the difference
between human and couch
like daughters are ominous mind-changing curses wrapped in cute
da da juju

im buying a shotgun
no dating until thirty
chaperoning prom after i
threaten her date
our mirror our memory
a madness in masculinity

making it about us
when it’s never been about us
and always about us
and now i wonder what if
we all had sons

Day 23 of 30


i grew up with fight you girls
hoodied and booted and vaselined
face shining like fingers after fried food

girls with teeth tongues and bedazzled
bricks for fists and snatch-backs like
fountain streams of black gold

eraser back earring girls who
blow bubbles and burst them whose jokes
are jagged recitations of rap lyrics

whose hinged necks use halos
as loose hula hoops ’round their heads in case
i ever got too comfortable with heaven

Day 22 of 30


praying hands handcuffed, engulfed in flames sewn, burned, etched
into my forearm either says that i needed to say something or
i was a dramatic fifteen year old. or i needed to cry out.
my father watched to make sure i didn’t cry. he was the king

of tattoos. arms covered since i was a kid. limbs like graveyards
for lost siblings and lost minds and lost times when black aint
ink at all, when ink aint show at all unless you wanted to starve
or fight or be called not black. you been hanging with crazy

white boys. you crazy if you think you can do what they do to
their bodies, if you think you can call it art, if you think you
can attach it to an africa you never knew. don’t you know what
the bible say about temples? so i got a cross the following

year. and a dove on my back because doves were in and im a peace
cliche at eighteen. and an ankh on my chest because i grew up seeing
my mother where one around her neck before music made us wear
brown and green and pretend to know things we didn’t, but feel like
we could be things we wanted. poetry. and pride. and a kora on my

leg and a typewriter and some circles, the horn of a continent my skin is
itching to be scratched by, sankofa on a sofa and on and on and on. my body
is a timeline. dots on a spectrum. stakes in a porous land. a gallery
building being ever built based on the blueprint inked into my father’s brown.

Day 21 of 30


son i can’t be in a sling
slung one-armed and lop as i take
this ride with you this could be an adventure
anything could happen i can’t risk it

might have to take the wheel
might have to avoid a pothole
might have to turn/left then turn back/right
might have to throw a ball
might have to throw a heavy thing away
might might have to throw a punch
have to ease into a hole
might have to climb out of one
might have to help you climb out of one which means
might have to reach out for you

hug you with my whole/he said
yes it might feel like my arm is twisting but
son this could be an adventure worth the risk
son we have so much to catch up on

Day 20 of 30


just because there are options
for skinny and whip or no
whip and iced and blended
and added vanilla
sweetener and foam and no
foam and light ice and
extra hot and small as tall
and medium as big and large
as for some reason
an italian word
for flare maybe

we’ll have to address the fact
the coffee is always burnt
and you’ve always gotten my
name wrong

Day 19 of 30


i’ve been whispered to
told secrets by brown girls who
grit teeth as greeting
who split open at night
and sew shut in day and
wish they were seen and
wish they weren’t seen
and wish they weren’t
seen as chasms as canyons
to be walked through and
explored with steel toe
and pick axe surveyed by
an adventurer’s eye a conquerer’s
boot and dirty nail
on the foothold and grip of

i’ve been whispered to
told desires of being more
than halved mountain
and chipped stone
and erosion and drought and
flood and seismic
shift and quake and bolt
being more than mishap
missed or misses target
practice for phallus
fashioned as god

and i call my mother
ask her if i can confide in her with
the secrets i’ve been told if i can
lay my broken rules upon her breast
this rock of my family
this rock of mine
and all she says is to remember
to knock the dust off my hands
before i come to her table