All the talls in the office were standing around the water cooler, sharing some interestings. The smarts had a meeting with the leaders about the tidys cleaning the desks midday. The funny tall kept making jokes about the lonely stinky, and the talls all laughed because we’re also all observants. The lighthearteds played music while we all worked, and it’s sound was enriching behind the loud buzz of all we represented. The lazy switched the channel to see the beautiful breaking the news story. She handed the interested over to the serious, who was live at the scene. A white had shot a black in Missouri, and the black had died. And then we all looked around, and we weren’t so tall anymore. We weren’t interesting, smart, tidy, funny, observant, or serious. And we certainly weren’t live at the scene. We were just blacks and whites, trapped in a box, like so many crayons. And the music sounded flat, because that was all we heard. And our vibrant colors faded, because that was all we saw.
We must be in more of this world. We must taste the Russian potatoes. Can’t you feel the Caribbean warmth on you back? Hear the calm static of the ocean? See the shore crashing violently against the waves? Can’t you taste the tahdig of Iran? Is it served with pears? Or is it eaten alone, with clean hands and dusty arms? Tell me, can you taste the sharp British yeast over the oily ink spotting your tongue? Japan will teach you to eat kudzu like a sweet bean sprout, but the American South will teach you that the east coast carpet tastes more like chemicals and pollution and (on the unluckiest of days) a hint of poison ivy. Is our fruit too plump and ripe to be held on the vine? Are these ever-expanding highways too vast for mere mapmakers? I tell you only once, fearful child: it is better to stand at the base of this fruit tree crying at the impossible choice and taste nothing but your own tears, than to step ever-further from the tree so as not to smell the rot of un-chosen fruit.
Funny how a man always has some secret childlike sliver,
no matter how grown, how wealthy, how serious.
He doesn’t clean his ears.
Then again, I am a young girl, too.
I am not polished or even, and my nails have dirt underneath.
(probably from cleaning his ears)
Always the footsteps down the hall
a forewarning mewl of her lover’s call
As the hallway light through the cracked door pours
on the creaking, glossy, wood-planked floors
The name spilling from her lips abhors
Then the quietness in the dark returns
Little lace duvet that has been down-turned
And the sleep comes, graciously, with ease
when it’s done, and he has been appeased
Yet we still hear God’s voice in night’s breeze
My mother, not yet my mother
my father, not yet my father
At a time when this
must’ve felt more like
the entrancing electricity of the lightening
than the distracting clap of the thunder
There are crows in these mountains who still know how to fly
Scavengers who jabber and don’t whisper when they lie
I’ve made my nest to lie in; “I do” until I die
I watch them peck each other as I bake my crow-meat pie