for francine and Detroit
From my mouth, forgive me: friend, woman.
When I said there are no flowers here, I forgot
to mention the bloom of lace around a young girl’s
ankle at Easter, her peony shaped afro puffs,
the carnelian carnations pinned to dresses to honor
mothers not lost. Spectrum of May collected from
Eastern Market, rowed in mismatched rainbows
in red wagons or inside the phantom box of a son’s
arms. I forget the cured meat spread out from the black
barrel of a barbeque, bushel of yarn sopped with sauce,
unlike the gauze full of blood from a young boy’s head.
Dear God the plankton of music dying our faces in the hot
summer streets, fever of jazz, blush of blues: raw heart
confront me. This city, always in my face. Bouquet of
incense, apothecaries with shea and oils. Give a dollar
and I’ll show you a conductor, his white bucket symphony.
No I haven’t forgotten the fire, molotov shards spreading
orange and gold flames as a field of dahlia across our
living room licking my mother’s heels, the heroine wolf
dragging me from my bed. I don’t blame the addict
who didn’t know which house to huff and blow down,
or the firemen arriving late. And yes, angels too.
A neighbor who let me, knees pressed to sternum, watch
from his porch as our house ashed itself clean. We have
to see the truth of things. Did I say there was no flora here?
No pollen shaken from the anthers round head?
The yellow dust settling in the cracks of windshield?
I meant: give me a hardened plot. I will dig to the rich black.