IS Poetry

I told her she doesn’t recite poetry, she IS Poetry.
She smiled so I could see all of her teeth –
Held out her hand and I traced the wrinkles
until I hit a timeline I could relate to.
Poets, more than regular folks, share a
common history. We walk through our blood lines
just like anybody else, but we have these highs
and lows that you can trace on our hands and on
our faces. I know she got called “nigger girl” on the
bus. I know she had to force a man off her young body.
I know she wishes that one, particular pain would end,
but she doesn’t know where she’d be without it. I talked
smooth like sandpapered wood and acted like I could ease all of her trouble
but once she got wise to what I was doing, she
said, “Fuck off” – almost like she blew a cigarette in my face: her eyes
said I don’t care how many people are at this bar, I’ll stab you in public.
IS Poetry can remove her look quick, like mascara on a cocktail napkin.
Her smile is a front and her patients, thin. She is militant and radical.
She doesn’t belong to country clubs or frequent gala affairs.
She’s my winnowing heroine.
As she left, she kissed me on the cheek and whispered,
“Try and tame me again, and I kill you.”

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