After Ross Gay

This thin sheet of morning
on which we splatter, breathless
from love’s quick gurgle and leap
from the teeth of a good song,
and the tune of a sky
that dips its feet
in something pink—
for every river, a mouth,
and for the tall glass of your body
I am thankful—

for the way the rain falls,
drops all its things on the sidewalk,
lathers the sky in a dull, grey soap,
hangs a lover’s perfume between
the city streets, and for a moment,
I am the hand
on the face
of a watch
on the wrist
of a woman I love,
and for each moment since,
I am thankful.

Let me stretch my mouth wide
as a summer afternoon
and say it loud, say it sticky,
say the days and their yellow hands
and the air so open
you could walk inside it,
say the music rising like bread
from every front stoop,
every front bicycle wheel lifted
toward God,
every front seat with friends
cramped close behind it,
and the laughter splashing
down our shirts,
the radio keeping the sadness
stomped inside our chests,
the blunts we roll,
the windows we roll down,
all the pretty trees rolling by
behind them, and the breeze lifting
the skirts of all the pretty girls,
my God, I am thankful—

for the prayer that walked my Mama
out my father’s fist,
the feet that carried her back
to her Mama’s home,
for this thread of women,
tying their shoes around their necks
so I may someday run—
steady as an engine shredding
through a season of grief— these women,
these Gods of skin & womb & coconut oil
& aloe vera gel, & wash your hands
& say your prayers & speak your heart,
please, let me say
I am thankful.

I am curled on the side of myself
I am so thankful. I am still,
and I am still
here, and I am still
hearing what music
can spill from a body
that once had so much silence
you could call it a sound—
the sound a small thump
in the back of my throat
when the light from inside
me leapt far as a fish
from its stream
and breathing
rendered useless.
Now, I breathe in,
I stand up,
and for all the bones
standing up inside me,
I am thankful.

My heart is made entirely of hands,
and with it, I give this to you,
this small, circular joy—
may it fit gently inside your eyes,
may we have just this moment,
empty of grief,
empty of fathers,
empty of any name that does not deserve
the small, circular joy of your mouth,
may it shrug its shoulders
into a smile, and smile with me
as I say, again and again



Because I dare not be in awe

My chiropractor tells me, your sternum is shining, meaning that the small bones
in my chest are rotating, overlapping, and moving away from one another—

Art Movie

The train stopped, still loads new passengers, but the conductor won’t let me get off and kiss you. You know that’s what I haunted to do.

Ode to the Loom

Sweet loom, old friend of an old woman / you are an ancestor she prays to