Make no apologies for yourself
Because you are covered by a listening skin
Because every ache you feel is not your own
Because of your mother’s loss
and your father’s rage
Because of how many rivers they’ve crossed
Because you plummet even if you cannot swim
Because of the lynching tree
Because when you enter bookstores
books fall off shelves into your open palms
Because you ask questions of the universe
so the world opens before you like a page of text
Because of those clouds and that murder of crows
Because poets are your wounded idols
Because the truth, even if it hurts is to be cherished and held
Because when people die you believe that they walk with you daily
Because the river has a mouth that speaks their names
Because the river flows with stories
Because you sit on the shore and listen
Because alone is more comforting than together
Because your pen is oceanic
Because you are big-eyed and eyes wide
Because you suffer from what you see and hear
Because you have sinus arrhythmia
your heart is linked to your breath
and your breath is short,
Because asthma is only one of the monkeys on your back
Because your heart is the vehicle you choose to ride this go ’round
Because it can go forward and backwards in time
Because bookstores have always been oracles
Because poetry is your archeological tool
Because you dig and dive
and you trust the ride of journal and journey
even if you don’t always float
Because your heart beats to your breath
Because of this music, you dance raw and wild

New York Times, May 2019