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TWO POEMS by Ronaldo V. Wilson

61. Lucy, Hater

The sky this morning is clear and endless, as are the clouds before the sun erases them,

as is the time before Mars shows itself.

Often, the end of clarity is like this: this color, its name, or what is written in pencil on

the black of night, dulls.

But what is my hate that spurns through my body, like a weight that never breaks?

In the spell of the deadening hour, a watch curls around a wrist.

In the morning, my hate melts the fish in where I swim.

This body is not thin, despite my leaving it. Caught

by my sense in the lit hour, shame. In the flood,

I am lost. In the shift of currents that break under,

I, held under, I suck, into an undoing. To reach under,

to seethe:

What’s broken is in my heart, sliding inside my chest,

My hate is unabated. Erase, regenerate—so, too, the spillage of deft speech.

63. Lucy Learns a Lesson

In the end, I am like the minnows darting over the mossed rock,

slick with sun, racing from the body warmed by

the heat burning through the day.

A black, darker than the brown one, wades in the wake.

Sometimes, when my breath is tight, I don’t try

to keep my seeing inside. I hold my cramping muscles in,

let them shudder with my own breath. My life is not layered

in fat folds. Okay, some, where my body melts

near the shore—in my own figure, I am reclining.

My hair twists down to two points that hang from my smile,

which does connect though less like the paper clip bent in half

on the table with which I dig into my ears.

The hiss of the kettle shoots out into the day,

Why am I trying so hard to be wanted?

My body tugs: Imbalance. Rejection.

Of course, the sign: air under the engine, air out of voice,

I know it’s in my breath, warm with spit, caked

as I know, some rocks, as in moss, too, grows thick

green by knowing, what did you want to say?

Teeth jumbled up, small and close inside your mouth.


Ronaldo V. Wilson, PhD, is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh, 2008), winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Prize., Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009), winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry and the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry in 2010. His latest books are Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other (Counterpath Press, 2015) and Lucy 72 (1913 Press, 2016). Co-founder of the Black Took Collective, Wilson is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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