i’ve been blue before.
been fourteen, visiting family, eyes watching
white – pretty lady she was, a whistle for hello,
a whistle for kicks. i be for kicks.
i be cotton gin carrier, blue-faced boy,
white men told me strip. thin layer of sky
subtle against skin.
i be walking to that river.
i be white knuckles. repeat.
be beaten black,
not social black, flesh black, black around
the eyes – can’t see the eyes, they gauge. but they there.
and a golden bullet.
be wired to that cotton gin.
be mississippi river, chucked into,
hollow head. be a canal.
i be drowned screams. silent. silent.
be tallahatchie baby, flipped river red, running,
running, a lake, a stream.
sink. be filled with blue.
lake blue. mississippi blue. blue like august blue.
be with family down there, too.
we all blue and black and brown.
i be their baby, still…
the tide is slow. washing the shoreline
of color. i be of color. blue as a corpse.