When the universe reached out for your daughter's
daughter and she reached out for you, your hands
were too full of furniture to hold her
after U-hauled the heavy weight in your lungs
from one room to the other and back
after you cloaked all the nicotine in your veins
in bubble wrap and tucked it away in the brown box
that is your body, you allowed the tattered wings
of family to escort you uptown, where you landed
like the ghost of a woman in baggage claim who
flew non-stop on Valium and a glass of wine
who admitted aloud that she was afraid, of flight
but not you, who are afraid of nothing, except flying
too low, into a room before the bleeding starts, before
grief gushes prematurely into empty hands
well after the staff deposits the tiny ink footprints
a dead baby and a pink blanket near her bedside
where a white woman's red roses would have been
-Frank X Walker
Used by permission.
Frank X Walker is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets and editor and publisher of PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture. His poems are anthologized in The Appalachian Journal, Limestone, Roundtable, and My Brothers Keeper. Other new work appeared recently in Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies, Tobacco , Kentucky Christmas, Cornbread Nation III, Kudzu, The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass and the Louisville Review. He currently serves as an Associate Professor in the department of English at the University of Kentucky.
Walker was on the panel Raising Radical Poets and read as part of the Affrilachian Poets Reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.
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