A GOOD DEED IS DONE FOR NO GOOD REASON
for Hugo Picciani
you are a slab of wood & an unused nail you are each one & you are them both you lay in a Home Depot perhaps or an architecture firm perhaps even in the back of some shed in Indiana or Bogalusa or 314 7th Street Brooklyn New York without the industry of human hands you are just yourselves & no one has made you into a house or even said the word never whispered in your ear the possibility of shelter never took a Polaroid of a family & said, “this is something you could keep warm,” so you don’t know really what could come of you but you know in the rain you rust & mold respectively & one day a hand is hovering above you a hand is hovering above you & you are staring at it considering the endless permutations of a hand all its wants & before long you know the hand is going to pick you up & you are worried you are a fleet of pigeons rascaling your talons in the dirt you are thinking “if I move I would be beautiful but I would be moved”
& suddenly the hand is holding you the hand is holding you & you are becoming something else & you are not fantasizing a floor board’s quality of life the pros & cons of assembling into a chair in fact you aren’t thinking much of anything not asking the scary questions not “what if all I am is all the houses I’ll never live in?” or “if no one walks inside, will I be a house at all?” because somehow you know you are not a dead bouquet of miscellaneous daisies from 2 valentines & a heartbreak ago you are still possible the way a set of cheap crappy books & a smile a small portion of it given can be evidence the world won’t leave you behind so you allow yourselves to become whatever these hands will make you & when you are asked how it felt the day you were suddenly a house you will not remember much you will not be able to define it in words all you will know is you did have definition you were held & you weren’t love exactly you didn’t offer that nature to last to be a monument marble crafted into the face of some president suited & gone because among other elements you were not marble you were never going to be & you weren’t a necessity really weren’t two cuts of a branch learning the arithmetic of fire unraveling to dust for a worthy cause like warmth or survival you were a moment the way laughter the way breath behind a kiss is you weren’t dire but you were the difference an empty lot then a house then an empty lot as before & you know this part that you won’t last that you will be torn back down to your simple selves you may in the process forget what you were until you are again what you were a slab of wood a nail & no intention only you are different now you are touched you have been moved made & unmade swiftly you have been lived in
Aziza Barnes is blk & alive. Born in Los Angeles, she currently lives in Bedstuy, New York. Her first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize and published from Button Poetry. You can find her work in PANK, pluck!, Muzzle, Callaloo, Union Station, and other journals. She is a poetry & non-fiction editor at Kinfolks Quarterly, a Callaloo fellow and graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of The Dance Cartel & the divine fabrics collective.