when my ankles are ashy i remember that i am dust

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Sob, Sob (2003), Kerry James Marshall

 

I ask permission to cross the street each morning
and know just how far my finger will go until the cold metal
pushes back against me with a tired, hinging groan

I go in fits of hesitance
every thought mid-sentence then
moved then stopped, fettered
in the middle of the crosswalk,
heavy feet falling fast asleep
and sinking into asphalt as
horns wail and men yell
my mouth hangs dumb

swallowed tongues glow in my belly
like a firefly inside of a frog
inside of another frog with hiccups
all manner of things alive
and unsaid

inside, a trickle of cold air brushes across my forehead.

the hairs on my forearm rise and tingle then
bow

I sneeze and am blessed
over and over again

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