Excerpt From A Wreath for Emmett Till
Emmett Till’s name still catches in my throat,
like syllables waylaid in a stutterer’s mouth.
A fourteen-year-old stutterer, in the South
to visit relatives and to be taught
the family’s ways. His mother had finally bought
that White Sox cap; she’d made him swear an oath
to be careful around white folks. She’d told him the truth
of many a Mississippi anecdote:
Some white folks have blind souls. In his suitcase
she’d packed dungarees, T-shirts, underwear,
and comic books. She’d given him a note
for the conductor, waved to his chubby face,
wondered if he’d remember to brush his hair.
Her only child. A body left to bloat.
© from A Wreath for Emmett Till
the metro station, greased with smoke.
Meine Tochter, my daughter.
I felt proud, when I realized I understood
her hand slapping
the pneumatic doors
of the subway car.
But I didn’t move.
I watched her run to the end
of the tracks,
beating her palm against the yawn
that swallowed away her child
and ran on.
A girl’s collarbone is her best accessory.
When the mirror is allowed, they ask you
to describe your body, as if you needed a mirror for that:
your ribs ripple under your skin
like the remains of some giant prehistoric whale.
If you just slip the skin
a little looser, it can slide free.
The scientists don’t get it, the newscasters don’t get it,
why is the whale sinking? It…
This past fall I took a class on Radio Writing, and learned how (or at least, started to learn how) to transfer my writing into a pure auditory experience. Most of what I wrote for the class were short fiction pieces, but the semester culminated in a poetic triptych (a triptych is a piece of art split into 3 parts meditating on the same theme). When I was searching for my final project, I thought…
I may have mentioned this before, but I was the kind of indoor-books loving kid who gave herself homework assignments. I sat at the family computer using Publisher to create brochures on various topics, using the information I gleaned from our World Encyclopedia CDs. I also really liked algebra.
I was… what did my brother call it?
Oh yeah. A nerd.
When I got to college, I loved the research…
So here we are, with a year of graduate school under my belt. In addition to my dual introspection, I’ve been considering the past year quite a bit- surveys for the school, notes for incoming students (I’m a mentor for next year’s class, which is… interesting), answering the ubiquitous “how did you like your first year?”
The answer is… complicated.
Were there disappointments? Moments…
Guys! I did this thing where I picked back up the blog I have that I haven’t updated in almost 7 months! Pretend to look at it? I used a gif and everything!
I got a letter from the government.
It said let there be night.
I went through your trash.
There was night, all right.
I consider how your light is spent.
I have butterflies a little bit.
I have some pills I take for it.
I’ve been up since four the day before.
Agony’s a cinch to sham.
Don’t worry about the environment.
Let it kill us if it can.
I give a tiny tinker’s damn.
I put the ox behind the cart.
Consume away my snow-blind heart.
Fastened to a service animal
it is waiting for the beep.
It is waiting for the right to change.
Hello, I know you’re there, pick up.