I want to say we met like white space
meets blue sky in crayon drawings,
that we made a traceable line
over a chimneyed house
with two windows, stick figures
of my mother and I holding fingerless hands
beneath a tree, the sun in the corner
smiling; but few houses dot the dirty hills
of Albuquerque’s bloodless skyline. Traffic
and traffic lights, stray cats and shattered glass
in guttered streets, you and me
not holding hands at the bottom
of the handicapped access ramp
leading into Long John Silver’s.
I’m fourteen. You mispronounce
my name, stress the wrong syllable.
I don’t call you dad, can’t use your first name,
so I wait to be noticed. Hey you—
let’s watch the sky purple and drain
between desert hills, from here,
where we can’t tell
if the road ends or rises.
This selection comes from the book of poetry, “Blues Triumphant” by Jonterri Gadson, which is available to purchase here from YesYes Books.
Jonterri Gadson is the author of the chapbooks Interruptions (MIEL, 2014) and Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012). She has received scholarships and fellowships from Cave Canem, Bread Loaf, University of Dayton and the University of Virginia where she received her MFA in Creative Writing. She is also a graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in Callaloo, Los Angeles Review, The Collagist, and other journals. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing/English at Bloomfield, College in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter at @JaytotheTee.
librecht baker. Long Beach, CA native. Member of Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Ensemble. MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. VONA/Voices and Lambda Literary Writer Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow. Poetry is forthcoming in Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices (Trans-Genre Press) and is included in CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (MTv Books).