Friday, March 8, 2013

Poem of the Week: Remica Bingham

Photo by: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Things I Carried Coming Into the World

The weight of my parents,
the dawn of them;
my grandmother's lackluster
life; the guilt of my grandfather's mistress
after he'd been scalded with hot
water, tender flesh boiling on his back;
my color, the umber slick of it
deepening over two weeks' time,
an aunt worrisome it would never stop;
the heart of a boy whose name
was forgotten before it was given
who passed me a note in fourth grade
that I spat upon and shot back
in scribbled, torn pieces;
obligation, the bane of memory,
the cleft a loss in 1967 creates
when a mother of mine
two mothers removed
is left broken on the sidewalk
after a drunk white man
jumps the curb
in the colored neighborhood,
the sorrow of the familiar voice
that has to tell me this;
my father's falsetto
before nicotine had its way
with his song; Jesus and all
his demands; soft hands;
the sight of a woman
at my first funeral, called away
to God, erupted, brought back
in a mega-church;
the bend of a slow, steady hump
overpowering an uncle's back;
my godson's vermillion face,
the uncertainty of him,
the walk I took with his mother,
past the clinic
through the divide;
a fistful of wanting; foreign bodies
wandering through my own;
a blow to the insides when distance
walks in; the braid of death,
streaked and ribboned against
my family's back, its greedy
interruption, its persistence,
the unwanted strands
of the thick-lcaed thing.

-Remica Bingham

Used by permission.
From What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan Press 2013).

Remica L. Bingham earned an MFA from Bennington College and is a Cave Canem fellow. Her first book, Conversion, won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was published by Lotus Press. Her second book, What We Ask of Flesh, was recently released from Etruscan Press in February 2013. Currently, she is the Director of Writing and Faculty Development at Old Dominion University. She resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children. For more information on her work and upcoming events, please visit:


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