God will give you a boy
And call this love
You will call this duty
I will grow the fruit

Adam will look at you one day
And call your nakedness shame
You will stare him down
And call this power
I will pluck the fruit

You will read the Bible
And feel your ribs as you reach a verse
You will question why they have written
You as less than whole
You will burn this book and write your own
I will give you the fruit

if i give birth it will be in the handicap stall of a mall bathroom
on Sunday afternoon
and people are noticing how
i ain’t been to church in a while
and it’s funny
how some spaces, just out of necessity
make themselves into chapels
i don’t have holy water but
i do have this coke zero and
i don’t have wafers but momma
gave me some motrin this morning

if i get married it will be in one of those old dusty dug outs
where someone had scratched
“whore”
into the wall and
daddy’s workin and  momma’s sleepin so
i’m alone standing face to a man and God
i’ll wear my helmet and black face paint coz
i don’t have my Sundays’ best
and it’s funny  
how some spaces, just out of circumstance
must become a chapel

and when i leave Him
some, many nights later
i’ll go to midnight mass
and ask Mother Mary
how a stable must have felt

Spit the small words stuck
between the gaps of your teeth.
Before too long, they will begin
to decay the bones of your mouth.
Your smile will be stained
with things hoarded behind your lips-
Those little bits of bitterness
spread sour on your tongue.
Take a string drawn taught,
or a sharp stick
and carve out those nasty thoughts
and see just how much
your gums bleed

I feel as light as light itself.
Not as fast, not as constant-
but weightless
as if the only way to feel
like I'm anything at all
is to illuminate
everything in my range

chipped tooth Jul 13

Your childhood home is up for sale, but no one wants to remember why you left.
Your face is used for tourist advertisements on the billboards next to the others that say,
"Are you going to Heaven or Hell? Call now.”
All the men that loved you, and the women that no one knew
about- are they with you now?
Is the Mercedes Benz
all the luxury that the Neches
never provided?
The only voice that ever
bellowed out from
the belly of that forsaken water,
(from boredom, for freedom)
did not die from an overdose.
She perished when they
condemned her
the moment
she began to sing

chipped tooth Jul 13

Nature, too, is self-consuming.
Even the grandest oak
of all southern Louisiana
will be uprooted in a hurricane.
The moss that grazes the water
with gentle finger tips
from those weary branches
will be swallowed by the water.
An old man's life spent in Houma
is reflected in the river currents;
his house built on stilts
across from the cemetery
where is wife is buried
next to her eldest son.
It meets the Mississippi
not surrendering,
returning

chipped tooth Jul 13

Tiny ankles hang down from a wooden bridge over the bayou-
and my friend and I stare at the black water
and point at all the furniture legs jetting out of the blackness
as if they were Cyprus knees—
and he says to me  “Someone said there’s at least a hundred bodies in there”
and without hesitation or a moment of silence
for the uncertain yet forgotten Dead
I say, “Bodies float, so we would see them if that were true”
and he replied,  after a brief moment of thought,
“Maybe they’re tied to all the couches or stuffed in the refrigerators”  
and I couldn’t believe how many house hold appliances
have been repurposed to host all these passed souls
in the bowels of the swamp
and with a swing of my leg, too swift—
my left shoe dropped  and hovered on the water
where lily pads should have been

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