we live best/ in the spaces between two loves
—Tracy K. Smith
Sun drunk and bruised we stop
for mango juice, so sweet it jolts the tooth
Chickens scurry beneath legs, peck
at cartilage and scraps of bone C and J laugh
canibalismo Push cainito halves to the plate’s ledge,
one for each of my palms Slow I thumb the pits loose,
cradle the etymology thick and viscous in the valley
of my tongue: purple star apple, golden leaf, abiaba,
pomme du lait, estrella, aguay, milk fruit My little lobe
glows warm and fat Mouth curled around an old blurred
life Violet nights exhausting my dizzy tongue beside
offerings: stiff petals moon blood and stone I’ve come
here to clear a vision of myself and let it be true
How useless imperial language with a mouth
for hunger And thirst Ears pressed between veils,
straining to hold some silver ephemera not mine to keep
Breakbeat Aubade with Anemones and Lucky Fish
Waiting and waiting, Death I kept waiting.
Despite the world’s benevolent violence
Wants rich and long, questions curled as cowrie.
See: a thousand lucky fish in the Grimoire of My Life.
The wild language of air sucked between teeth
and the sibilance we submit to. Is the body not for this If
black writhe of being alive. What steel-clap hand, drunk bones
and premonition: sapid pelvis in translation,
torso of trap and tropical bass I slither and bend into every note
I slip, maestro, between your thresh and breakbeat,
sweat a sea of wild anemones. Salt, so a deep song.
Chest warm with the heat of our need and the menthol to come.
High off echolocation, lights yellow the streets.
Beneath green rooms, I slip off my thick flit.
Between floors cumbia mouths my name,
says descend in and pay nothing.
Give up the veils between us. Ecstatic corona,
I pierce through the shrill season, against
shudder. Teem brink. Woman in line
with deliverance. Fever.
And the February a body begs.
Aricka Foreman is a writer, editor and educator from Detroit, MI. Her work and curation have appeared in The Offing, Buzzfeed, Vinyl, RHINO, The Blueshift Journal, Day One, shuf Poetry, James Franco Review, THRUSH, and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin), among others. Author of the chapbook Dream with a Glass Chamber (YesYes Books), she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She currently lives in Chicago, IL.