But drifting up through the steam grates on cold nights comes tired guilt, sneaking in under the covers…
Holding an egg is work!
Sitting with the uncanny feeling that maybe
this oval cradle could have been living with feathers and fright.
I sit in silence
and it is akin to having an important conversation, because
it is easier to run along and fix things, than it is to sit awhile
and hold them in a ruined state.
I don’t get yelled at through the sheet rock, insulation,
and pine wood floors,
And her frown doesn’t mock me in the mirrors.
But drifting up through the steam grates on cold nights
comes tired guilt, sneaking in under the covers
as if it’s been cast out too.
Success shows that her children have everything.
Success feels like a hot poker
carefully endowed with its red fire
transferred as a gift, into my dutiful bare hands.
I am from caribbean ocean blue
I am from that place of raspy coconut hulls,
discarded in gutters, pockmarked with white machete-milk scars.
I am caroused at dawn by the too hot sun on my shy northern skin
Fed breakfast to the tune of cornflakes and milk and the grousing of sweet mamas.
I am old enough to know that I am a youngin’ here – too skinny
to watch out for myself and my sweet blue eyes.
My teeth hurt from the sweet
in the food, in the air, in the small family
that is maybe called a community, but for what it’s worth,
in the end they don’t even belong to me.
Because – they speak from a place inside their belly, and I dodge with my
fingertips, and where I really come from,
skin doesn’t get that dark.
And so I can only pretend that the place I come from
smells like pavement, hot piss, and fried okra,
and whose anthem has nothing to do
with red, white, and blue.