Poem 15 of 30

You run your tongue across my teeth while tugging the hair between my legs.

Your moans vibrate the inside of my mouth as I pull your hips

Closer

Closer

Towards me.

In this moment there is no talk of the hard things spoken earlier.

Or the ways your face folded itself into disappointment and anger.

Here in sex

I do not hide my crying.

Here in sex

Your generosity is limitless.

I like me.

You like me.

And the gift of each other

This way

Is all that matters.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 14 of 30

Tenderness.

Sharpen it.

Salt it.

Fortify it with your spit.

Lay it flat across your bed.

Pick it up.

Fold it square.

Carry it in your breast pocket.

Air it out.

Iron it.

Beat it like a rug.

Twist it til it thins like a thread.

Floss your teeth with it.

Stitch your heart on your sleeve with it.

Use it everyday.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 13 of 30

You have twenty fucking minutes or I’ll come and kick in the muthafuckingdoor myself. Fuck I need my bread—

Good evening how are you?

Hostility packed up.

Contained.

Transformed.

Alms of cordiality for a sudden shrouded stranger.

You stifle a laugh as you pass a man threatening violence. His cellphone glows in the dark. He is genuinely warm as he greets you. Your bag bounces on your back as if you are in middle school. You give a Fine, thank you and descend the hilly alley.

Those trees with those fish smelling blossoms are in bloom.

Their white tiny petals confetti your pathway home.

It’s a fucking Miyazaki but in the hood.

The slow pulse of red lights of an ambulance are Ohm eyes.

The villagers slide open their squeaking windows to let in this sweet, sweet breeze.

Someone is screaming in the distance.

You have nothing. You have everything.

A return home.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 11 of 30

They are counting the losses of friends and the terror of lovers. Their tallies scratch out different meanings. The human sums up their wounds. The phage totals its meals.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 10 of 30

When did my monster arrive? How did it enter? Did it scry for chinks of weakness in my spirit? Did it smell control lust in the plaque between my teeth. Did it latch onto a waxing reach for power and the abuses that would certainly follow? Did I unknowingly woo it to wedge and lock itself inside?

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 9 of 30

There is a phage inside of you. It is soft like velvet and as light in weight as powder. Its heat swirls. You sense it tucked in your belly. Yes quite near the spot that tangles and throbs at the onset of anxiety. You first noticed it as clear and heavy as a stone falling through still waters during an argument with a lover. Like a scientist you paused and thought to yourself how long has this alien life gone undetected? In response, it quivered and offered extravagant and destructive counsel. Escalate, escalate, escalate. You turned to your lover and it ate its fair share.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 8 of 30

Fire.

Electricity.

Animation.

Ignition.

Might.

Worth.

Labor.

Salt

Sweat.

Water.

Dance of life.

Water.

Sweat.

Salt.

Labor.

Worth.

Might.

Ignition.

Animation.

Electricity.

Fire.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

Poem 7 of 30

my dead grandmother

visits me in dreams

lucid and deliberate

a contrast to her final days

in one

she teaches me to tie a special knot

using a small ship anchor chain

from a lowered car window

she dictates the motions

my hands are to make

no patience for clumsiness

weak arms with skinny wrists

or the bulky impossibility of each unyielding link

she steadily recites the movement

making corrections where she sees fit

under

over

pull

again

no loop it

tie it

start over

pull

now

this is important work

she says

pass it on.

© 2018 by Miya Upshur Williams

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