For Middlesex County Academy in New Brunswick, NJ – Alternative School and Damon House – Alcohol & Drug Treatment Facility
They banter back and forth like boys do:
You charcoal, son. You so black you purple.
I tell them, hol’up in defense of my mahogany skin
and the boy they’re putting down. I say,
You know what they say? In cue as if we rehearsed it,
we both chime, the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.
We flash twin smiles. There’s a moment when the air
gets less complicated in the room.
After Sean Hill
From my lips I stitch a quilt,
a crooked song that weaves its way around
South Carolina, a pie shape that conjures food —
My mama is magic.
Always was and always will be.
There is one phrase that constantly bubbled
from the lips of her five children,
“My momma can do it.”
We learned “Fog” in English Class
and how it moved on little cat feet,
a tenderness crept across me then
touching a place I could not name.
When our teacher recited “Chicago”
The Big Shoulders of that city held me
lifting me up above Piedmont, South Carolina
allowing me to see the town with new eyes;
and though we never field tripped to Flat Rock,
that 6o minute minutes north to his home
my compass found it later, The Carl Sandburg Home,
Connemara alive with books, trails, music and yes goats.
My hand say, Pick, plow, push and pull,
‘cause it learned to curl itself around every tool
of work. The muscles say, bend yourself like the sky,
coil yourself blue around both sun and moon.