Friday, April 6, 2018

My Nothings by Ama Codjoe


My Nothings
 
You, who have bowed your head, shed
another season of antlers at my feet, for years 
 
you fall asleep to the lullabies of dolls,
cotton-stuffed and frayed, ears damp with sleep 
 
and saliva, scalps knotted with yarn, milk-breath,
and yawns. Birth is a torn ticket stub, a sugar 
 
cone wrapped in a paper sleeve, the blackest
ice. It has been called irretrievable, a foreign 
 
coin, the moon’s slip, showing, a pair
of new shoes rubbing raw your heel. 
 
I lose the back of my earring and bend
the metal in such a way as to keep it 
 
fastened to me. In the universe where we are
strangers, you kick with fury, impatient 
 
as grass. I have eaten all your names.
In this garden you are blue ink, baseball cap 
 
wishbone, pulled teeth, wet sand, hourglass.
There are locks of your hair in the robin’s nest 
 
and clogging the shower drain. You, who are
covered in feathers, who have witnessed birth 
 
give birth to death and watched death suck
her purple nipple. You long for a mother 
 
like death’s mother, want to nurse until drunk
you dream of minnows swimming 
 
through your ears—their iridescence causing
you to blink, your arms twitching. 
 
Even while you sleep I feed you. 

 

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