Sunday Poem


Go. He say it simple, gray eyes straight on and watered,
he say it in that machine throat they got.
On the wall behind him, there’s a moving picture
of the sky dripping something worse than rain.
Go, he say. Pick up y’all black asses and run.
Leave your house with its splinters and pocked roof,
leave the pork chops drifting in grease and onion,
leave the whining dog, your one good watch,
that purple church hat, the mirrors.
Go. Uh-huh. Like our bodies got wheels and gas,
like at the end of that running there’s an open door
with dry and song inside. He act like we supposed
to wrap ourselves in picture frames, shadow boxes,
and bathroom rugs, then walk the freeway, racing
the water. Get on out. Can’t he see that our bodies
are just our bodies, tied to what we know?
Go. So we’ll go. Cause the man say it strong now,
mad like God pointing the way outta Paradise.
Even he got to know our favorite ritual is root,
and that none of us done ever known a horizon,
especially one that cools our dumb running,
whispering urge and constant: This way. Over here.

by Patricia Smith
Blood Dazzler
Coffee House Press, 2008