What You Know About That [Intersected] Life
It’s snake tongue flick back,
it’s unfinished apple. About
the murder of crows in the wake
of a good first moan. Which
alley to steer clear, what come
back to avoid clap. Which
notch to keep your head level
after the stirrups and saltines
the solemn man who took them
out. You don’t know unending
grief. Spreading the blinds
when a lover’s engine hums low.
Lights off, the key in the door.
About the anchor in the swell
of a belly when the sirens flash.
Flashlight tap against a window.
Strip search on a traffic violation.
What you know about the metal
around a wrist if it ain’t missionary,
ain’t spicing things up on a Tuesday
night. What you know about poplar,
what Detroit smelled like in summer:
Doritos dead flesh burned brush.
Say a grandfather on a four legged
cane sneaks into your room at night.
Makes you want to holler. Throw up both
your fists. Say he blocks the exit
til a praying grandmother comes.
Say her hymns be memory, aluminum
cracking against his skull. Say it’s
a story the cousins laugh about over
Thanksgiving dinner. Out his mind
just in time. What you know about
deliverance, about badshit
in the brain, the boom it brings.
What you know about water
turning back into itself. Obsessively
trying to write a gospel in spite all this.
Aricka Foreman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Drunken Boat, Minnesota Review, RHINO, shufPoetry, Amazon’s Day One, James Franco Review, PLUCK!, as well as the anthologies Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin), HYSTERIA (Lucky Bastard Press), Cave Canem Anthology XIV: Poems 2012-2013, and The Dead Animal Handbook (University of Hell Press) among others. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Callaloo Writers Workshop, and is the Enumerate Editor for The Offing.