The Poetry Project

Two Poems

Chanice Hughes-Greenberg

good to me as I am to you

Dear Eunice,

Aretha is playing & singing Thank the lord & that is how I want to start this letter to you. Thank the lord I was put in your path. Thank him for this sloping basement ceiling, thank him for the leaves left in the front yard. I can say it again. We both know devotion is not a word used lightly but I write it here. I can hear you over Aretha’s band, moving about the kitchen, living room. Each step sounds like you, sounds like a comfort. Made by a body I sleep & pray beside. I’ve made mistakes. Only after can we see the mess we made, see the lesson to learn. The floorboards carry your answer. I know. & then again. I know. I write this because weight is carried both ways. What I mean is: I carry you. The sound of you moving further away causes a reaction. A need for you. Thank the lord for you. & the band comes in again.

same ol’ mistakes

break into bloom, violent yet the petals cover the street
the bloom I carry home to dry, a better death here than on the slick subway steps

a tree let loose two to three months ago when nothing grew &
now I see we weren’t either, just bodies next to bodies for bodies sake

for warmth

the snow from your fire escape a warning—or a blessing

a promise passed down from the slate sky

when it rains it pours it opens mouths heads held backward

what does the city sound like as the heat rises, starts slow then pools around my knees, seeks
the folds of my arms & draws out damp

how does it find me in shade shelter

when a bird flies into a window is it seeking the other side, or aware of the pause,
challenging the narrative

the blooms so thick they block out light air anything but each other, a dense ceiling I take a
photograph of

to break, to bloom

to be a ribcage, a hand touching someone until

a break, a bloom

when the sun comes I will lay in the grass, let it move over me, into me

like the bird some things can’t pass

I didn’t realize we were among them

Issue 15