Shades
by Marq Wilson

I

Each week we go to visit grandma’s street.
The yard is full of dirt and there’s no shade
beneath the dry trees, growing so funny.
Inside her house the floor is full of black
marks, decay from giving years of chase
behind babies and fat bugs that can fly.

In the kitchen mama swats a fly
away from chicken and out towards the street.
Sometimes I watch her jab and hit and chase
the roaches back behind the broken shade.
Flies like the dark spots on wings–those burnt to black
while mama slaps. Flies who eat wings are funny.

When I laugh mama asks me what’s so funny?
I say. But there’s nothing funny about a fly
feeding to her. She sends me out through the black
grease. Without any chicken. Outside on the street
I show up empty handed in the shade
where my cousins crouch, ready to chase.

I trip and open my skin as soon as the chase
starts. Nine mouths open and laugh, like it’s funny.
I move, hoping, towards grandma in the shade
on the crooked porch. She saw me fly
over the spill of tar out on the street.
She wants to see my scrapes and knots turn black.

II

Lamps scatter ugly roaches. House full of black
corners. Grandma would hold me when the chase
of sirens came breaking in from the bloody street.
But from inside? Darkness is where my funny
uncle waits. Rubbing his hand over his fly.
Away from her and the light trapped under the shade.

III

Some bugs swarm closely underneath the shade.
Attracted to the light, a line of black
critters that want blood, that secretly fly
down on those a virgin to the chase.
My uncle watches me breathe. He gives me the funny
look. I hide. I whisper towards the street.

I see black night between junkies on the street–
some jerking like a half beaten fly. But funny:
their shade of life seems safer than a chase.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 3.

placesaver2Marq Wilson received her MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University in 2009. She received the Virginia G. Piper Writing Fellowship in 2008. Besides writing both poetry and fiction, Wilson also explores the complexity of identity in Modern American literature through scholarly research.

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