Friday, January 15, 2021

My love mentions that people see stars best
from the corners of their eyes, that cones
catch color in the centers, but it’s the rods
on the outsides that fetch the dimmest portions
of the visible spectrum—and I am forced
to reconcile with the fact that something so round
as vision still pushes people into corners

like those I drive by in the hood, and wonder:
if spacetime had bent me a different path
I could be a man or a mural on some concrete
patch like these, and that either way I’d be
painted away eventually. I’m forced to consider

a future son, half white, and whether or not
to ever call him my nigga; that if I ever did,
something somewhere between us might break
jagged forever, push us to the other sides
of rooms, a hypotenuse of hypotheticals
always between us. I’m forced to consider

my child’s heart like a comma, caught up in clauses,
murmuring a steady syntax the way a ghost
drags its lips over everything unspoken
caught in its chest, a soul full of expectations
never met; I’m reconciling how black and white
the edges of most things are, the steady strain

of looking into every corner of the sky and never
finding a black constellation—already knowing
the brilliance of stars is a billion years
worth of old news; to reconcile with my friend

confessing he never expected to make it past
eighteen, and I don’t know what’s harder to believe:
his confession or the doctorate diploma he thumbs
on the corner of his thirties—

to reconcile with the elderly who hear my poems
and come to me, stumbling their way towards
I don’t see color—and I can’t tell if it’s glaucoma
or Glaucon sitting in the center of their lenses,
spinning the ring of Gyges on his finger; and
their mouths like a heart pulsing so petulantly
I take their hand to my chest, tap out a sweet staccato:
Do you see me? Shut your eyes—I am either side
of that which blinds you.

Friday, January 15, 2021