his tawny listening at the water’s edge, shy antlers in pooling green light

 Magnitude and Bond Nicole Terez Dutton
More than anything, I need this boy
so close to my ears, his questions
electric as honeybees in an acreage
of goldenrod and aster. And time where
we are, slow sugar in the veins
of white pine, rubbery mushrooms
cloistered at their feet. His tawny
listening at the water’s edge, shy
antlers in pooling green light, while
we consider fox prints etched in clay.
I need little black boys to be able to be
little black boys, whole salt water galaxies
in cotton and loudness—not fixed
in stunned suspension, episodes on hot
asphalt, waiting in the dazzling absence
of apology. I need this kid to stay mighty
and coltish, thundering alongside
other black kids, their wrestle and whoop,
the brightness of it—I need for the world
to bear it. And until it will, may the trees
kneel closer, while we sit in mineral hush,
together. May the boy whose dark eyes
are an echo of my father’s dark eyes,
and his father’s dark eyes, reach
with cupped hands into the braided
current. The boy, restless and lanky, the boy
for whom each moment endlessly opens,
for the attention he invests in the beetle’s
lacquered armor, each furrowed seed
or heartbeat, the boy who once told me
the world gives you second chances, the boy
tugging my arm, saying look, saying now.

Artist Residency 2020

If your own private house up in the woods and down the road from Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens sounds like a good place to spend your Spring, today is the last day to apply to their Visual Artist Residency.

The time I spent there as the writer in residence was invaluable, and I know will continue to inform my work for years to come.

photo by TK David

gardenconvervancy.org

did you hold forest-fire in one hand

There Is a Devil Inside Me
—After Ana Mendieta

Did you carry around the matin star? Did you hold
forest-fire in one hand? Would you wake to radiate,
shimmer, gleam lucero-light? Through the morning

would you measure the wingspan of an idea taking off—
& by night would you read by the light of your own torso?

Did you hear through the curtains a voice, through folds &
folds of fabric a lowdown voice—How are you fallen
from—How are you cut down to the ground?

*

Would gunpowder flash up in the other hand?
Were you the most beautiful of them—the most beauty,
full bew, teful, bu wtie, full be out, i full, btfl?

Did the sky flutter & flower like bridal
shrouds? Did a dog rise in the East in it?
Did a wolf set in the West? Were they a thirsty pair?

And was there a meadow? How many flowers to pick?
And when no flowers, were you gathering bone chips
& feathers & mud? Was music a circle that spun?

*

Did you spin it in reverse? Was your singing a rushlight,
pyre light, a conflagration of dragonflies rushing out
from your fire-throat? Did you lie down in the snow?

Did it soften & thaw into a pool of your shape?
Did you whisper to the graven thing, whisper a many

lowdown phrase: How are you fallen my btfl?

Would they trek closer, the animals? A grand iridium
thirst, each arriving with their soft velour
mouths to drink your silhouette?

Credit:
Copyright © 2018 by Carolina Ebeid. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem:
“I am writing a series of poems centered around the video works of Ana Mendieta. In one of them, Mendieta faces a blank wall with her back to us. She bends down to dip her hands and forearms in a pan that is filled with animal blood and begins to draw on the wall a narrow arc the width of her body. With more blood, she writes at the center of this tombstone-like shape, ‘There is a Devil Inside Me.’ My poem imagines the artist as a kind of Lucifer, the messenger bearing light, before falling from grace into the underworld.”
—Carolina Ebeid