Miriam searches me Clean with Mediterranean Vowels

By Sophia N. Ashley

Miriam searches me clean with Mediterranean vowels of— h(o)w do w(e) s(u)rv(i)ve?

when I told her "baggage your worth in four assets."

Torchlight: for brightening the knowledge of black on our skin.

ATM Pin: for it's rare abecedary.

Green card: for how often we too are created without a work permit.

Ticket: for a meal that'd account for that one-year gap, should we separate.

we were once youths adoring rifles, Ak-47.

till we were the ones gunned 24/7,

lifeless beside the red-hot cannons waltzing in showmanship

that witness the tip of our bodies absorb bullets,

pollinating the pillow pricked cloud to gun powder.

our thoughts, nearly vocalic.

how-do-we-survive? in a state we're smuggled— black as any naive contraband.

a state I teach my scalp to duck the feral mug shots,

& outrun the badge chasing to chew my whole clan.

we're reduced to that rib full of meat, crushed to ease suckle of our pigments:

simple wonder that breeds us into returnees.

the many verbs to bring us home,

to let the boy feigning refugee for six months know his life was a sour trick.

the many tense & careless inflections he lends to mourn his inability to roll

with his passported cousins, regardless of how his body etches Atlanta— land of rest

when diced to the ground.

I too am handpicked without miss each time I land at seaports.

72 trials in a row, if I attempt a hyperbole.

I overstate, because foretelling promises rebellion than remembrance.

because parenthesis is parental advice, & that's all there's to your dictionaries:

a sheaf of whispering leaves. that too, another language unfamiliar to us.

we admit doors when we cross shorelines.

some worm into thresholds. some turn warning.

the rest are just shores.