Duplex for the Pinkston Name (After Jericho Brown) My name is the first thing washed ashore. I hold still, brace myself for impact. My hands do not still, reminders of impact. My mother learned to think first with her fists. Thinking with her fists, my grandmother tore Homes apart. Shrapnel knotted in the kitchen. Shrapnel is a tough pill to swallow. Despite it all, I learned to live the debris. Despite it all, I learned to love my debris. At night, I bleach the rivers white with ghosts. Like all my rivers bleached with ghosts: My cousin, eyes rolled into peonies, seizing. I seize a peony to reduce the swelling. My name is the last thing washed ashore. My Bed, Tracy Emin, 1998 & on TV I rerun the rapture, watch the water swallow my wrists our faces flickering beyond recognition god, forgive the mess I have made of my life forgive the matches, forgive the blades, forgive the pills clinging the bedsheets, each capsule a pupiled eye forgive my body its dyings the way I circle each month like a gambler hoping for a different outcome the pitch-dark stain in my underwear in ninth grade, C saying, I bought the toughest rope they had and it gave out on me I stood out on the tracks like light to be swallowed and couldn’t do it we sat very still so as not to wake the birds enough let my arms raise me church I could spend my life apologizing but we don’t have that kind of time C’s stunned body felled back to earth as if called the fishhook of my body shuddering open to rainfall I want a garden too wild for fear to spoil I want a love to outlive the hurt of my body I want to wake up and find you next to me our bed still damp with river water, both of us clawed through with dark & yet still breathing.
About the Author:
Claire Pinkston is a biracial Black youth poet and writer. Her work has previously been recognized by the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers and the University of Louisville and is published or forthcoming in diode poetry, peach mgzn, and The Offing, among others. She is growing with her poetry.
*Featured image by Goran Tomic