– Patricia Smith –
It is wrenching, really, the way I have to take
his head in my hands and say Baby, something
will happen soon. The reckless of us will slap
someone’s expected ‘round. Our threaded
mismatched fingers screech This tilted life
Lover, I am bomb-hued, napped, savvy about
the way this world sedates and separates.
When I was four, my nana wrapped around me,
whispered lynch directly into my ear, read me
Emmett Till’s imploded eye like a bedtime
story. When I tell my lover the tale, changing
the names to protect the deluded, it fails to
daze his democratic hum. He nods heartily
and mistakes the bloodied moral for a bluish
ballad peppered with a soil he thinks he knows.
Yes, I will regret his eyes when nigger blurs
the air from the lowered window of a passing car,
when a colored elder strolling by sets blaze to us.
But tonight my white man makes me tea. He dips
a splintered thumb in peppermint, brushes a cool
line along the cleft of my tongue.We fold slow
into a single chair, writhe purposefully to insistent
moonwash and a new-age embarrassment of bells.
Our two huge dogs bound in, gasping, dripping
a gray rain. They shake out parties. Our home
sighs its locks shut, siphons our tangle of hue.