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September 30, 2020 Poetry

Three Poems

Schyler Butler

Three Poems photo


We jut Ma’at into our daily bread.
Turn mud into pyramid bricks,
shadows mapping the heavens.
We rise above the stars.
Invent language harmonious
with all creation.
Fight wars because here,
we are human
but fight wars with a delicacy
that uplifts the circle of life.

Or at least, this is what we learn
when we study our history
beyond enslavement.
Or at least, this is what we say
in our attempt to understand
why you
choke our attempts with glee,

call us thugs
when we had Kush,
call us predators
when we conceived
words for time,
squash our fingers
when we find the right ladder
and thrust our way out of these hoods
designed to foster generational
defeat of what might otherwise
be a revival
of the very minds apt enough
to map Antarctica’s islands first.



Waves smash all doubt I’ve failed.
At the edge, I bathe the parts of me
still hard to stomach. Salt wounds
my lips like too much honey, makes
them shine brighter than cratered moon.
My back sinks into wet shore, marking
me for trauma I no longer say I am.
These waters have always been
home. If I squash my toes into sand,
bury the hurt bits like lingering crumbs
swept into mother’s palm and carried,
what can I build from the sown?



Where are you when I need
to vent the woes of that
which is male, my pent-up agony
voracious material burn.

Who else but you can hop into this fire
then help extinguish the shared yearn
and after tears, pull from a manila

folder the written manifestations of
our insides, so perfectly stanza’d,
so drenched in home. We’d map

our north nodes and predict our next poems,
measure the width of our noses, the brownness
of our skin, compute their ratio to see

if we are part of the divine.
We’d eat lychees and dates dipped
in vanilla marbled coffee ice cream

for breakfast, unashamed, trade shoes
because our style is so swappable,
our sorrow so easy to fashion.

Where are you when I need holding
and someone to hold, like sisters born
from the other’s body,
like twins separated by birth.


image: Dorothy Chan