after Wanda Coleman
JuneSoon we die in March, April, May
JuneMother may I? Yes you may.
JuneMother, your back is turned. Ah, there’s your face.
JuneWe march. Everyone is a world to someone.
JuneIf another person uses “knee on the neck” as
a metaphor I will scream.
JuneI teach myself how to run. Run. Walk. Run.
JuneI pay quarterly taxes to the government of
the United States of America.
JuneTwo friends miscarry. L’s father succumbs to
pancreatic cancer. J’s mom is killed in a car
JuneI turn off the news because I can turn the
JuneI name the world. I name the time and its
JuneA neighbor loses his wife and daughter in
one week. I remember standing across from
the daughter. I can see her face. Years from
now, on an astonished
Juneday, her son will confuse memory for
JuneThe first snow.
JuneA world becomes a repetition, a cry.
JuneThis is your July freedom. This is your
JuneMy mouth is lion wide. I reread
JuneJordan: “My name is my own my own my
own.” Lucille Clifton: “and the land is in
ruins, / no magic, no anything.” Gwendolyn
Brooks: “We are lost, must / Wizard a track
through our own screaming weed.”
JuneWe jazz. We
JuneI bite my fist.
JuneI cast my pathetic, triumphant ballot.
JuneShucking corn, I find a worm.
JuneI look over my shoulder when I run. Walk.
JuneI pay quarterly taxes to the government
of the United States of—If another
person says “a few bad apples” I’ll—
Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh—my mouth is roaring
with a human head.
JuneClifton: “the question for you is / what have
you ever traveled toward / more than your
JuneI sing insufficiently.
JuneA word becomes incantation.
JuneOne of many graces.
June I haven’t ever cried.