I know I've
smashed your mouth mute, that your wrists
busy churning in other waters,
but what's a brother to do?
marbles at the same curb and chalk in by shadows
the day the shape of brother
where he sat, and crosshatch
concrete with chalk. For the sun it never sits still,
what's a brother with a fish
in his pocket, a piece of chalk,
a chin that can't lift itself, what's that brother to do?
the kite snapping in the branches,
that shipwreck in the shirt pocket
a boy so much bigger than us, and what with the fire
with their corks blown out,
and the rain tapping into puddles,
those dancers born wet from the sky with feet, only feet,
body, its chalky configurations
dissolving on the pavement.
in this garden where sneakers melt around a boy's feet,
more they melt the lighter he gets,
charging like some hurdler
over fences, or crossing the earth lunging from roof
roof to deliver the news.
And what with the rain
and this brother who won't go in, won't heed the elms
away at him-get off the street boy,
another bottle-a-pop and drink it to the bottom, twirling it
the moonlight of that streetlight,
and fling baseball cards
playing cards across the concrete to this chalky boy
at the table. You tell me, brother
what's a brother to do?
's main gig,
his missionary work, is teaching creative writing to inner-city
children in Detroit. He tours the land teaching students at various
colleges and schools about the holiness of a sentence. Every day
he falls in love with stuff like the slightest trembling of a
leaf. His wife is his sun and moon and more. And when he isn't
teaching, or hammering away at the page, he likes to roll around
in the dirt doing carpentry.
His poems and stories have appeared
in the North American Review, Bomb, Field,
Ohio Review, The Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly,
as well as in numerous anthologies. His first book of poems, Traveling
at High Speeds, is out on New Issues Poetry Press. And he
has a chapbook, Yellow-Haired Girl with Spider, forthcoming
on March Street Press. His second book of poems is Fire Psalm.
© New Issues
© March Street