Sunday Poem

Shahid Reads His Own Palm
I come from the cracked hands of men who used the smoldering ends of blunts to blow shotguns,  men who arranged their lives around the mystery of the moon breaking a street corner in half.  I come from "Swann Road" written in a child's slanted block letters across a playground fence,  the orange globe with black stripes in Bishop's left hand, untethered and rolling to the sideline,  a crowd openmouthed, waiting to see the end of the sweetest crossover in a Virginia state pen.  I come from Friday night's humid and musty air, Junk Yard Band cranking in a stolen Bonneville,  a tilted bottle of Wild Irish Rose against my lips and King Hedley's secret written in the lines of my palm.  I come from beneath a cloud of white smoke, a lit pipe and the way glass heats rocks into a piece of heaven,  from the weight of nothing in my palm, a bullet in an unfired snub-nosed revolver.  And every day the small muscles in my finger threaten to pull a trigger, slight and curved like my woman's eyelashes.

by Reginald Dwayne Betts
from Shahid Reads His Own Palm
Alice James Books, 2010