Ronaldo V. Wilson
47. LUCY AND SHADOW
Leaves grow through porch slats, bursting from the broken steps,
the small stones I wish in my mouth.
I cannot speak, but when I have to, I hold in my throat, a soft light,
curving forward to the front of my palate.
Puddles beam through the air into my eyes. There’s a pattern.
Evaporation, my mark fades on the cement.
In there lie my eyes, too, which vanish. My face blanks to nothing.
Nor does my nose matter. No. My eyes.
My teeth. No. The grass is thick with dew at night.
A truck is backing up, and I can hear it through the atmosphere.
Through the thicket of my projections, through the brown
of the broken pine crushed, by steps.
A grey cat slips beneath the bushes.
Birds cut into sight.
Last night, I looked at rows of pants, not mine,
but I was wearing blue suede boots and a worn red tee.
Maybe it was the water from the spring: the test they said,
said toxic, the spigot erect from the stone, clear as a catheter.
Bad stomach, I dream of dragging up, by rope, quiet white children,
up a hill that is familiar,
many legs pushing up to the top,
where I look down at more mist. The mountains,
thick with smoke, undone by what mist that coats
the top of the trees framing the centered sun.
49. LUCY, THE GREY CAT, AND SENSE
“Shit.” This is what the white trash cleaning woman says before she downs
her coffee to fuel the rest of her day, a day I could never live through.
I’m too fine. There’s no way in hell that I’d let my hair get that flat, streaked
sans intention. White Shorts? Pleats? And there’s no way I’d grow a gut.
There’s Lipo. There’s reason, which is best suited to my doing so many lifts that my body
is one line that leads to the sun. There’s also my soul, which is transcendent.
I breathe in the air, here, up high, despite the mist that comes down as one surface,
making it so hard for me to breathe in deeply the smell of anything else.
In the morning, I saw the grey cat again. At first, in my periphery, funny,
I read it as, skunk, the streak looking more black on white, than white on grey.
Which is a matter of distinction. Like sometimes, when the dew is so thick on the grass,
I have to walk like I am walking on the moon to get to my delicates
out on the line. This morning I said: “you look nice and white,” to someone else who
was not white, but was wearing white.
I thought that this was enough. Would I think this of his shadow, then?
Would I think, he’s black, and not wearing black, or he’s green, walking up a green hill?
I can feel her coming—my room cannot wait. White maid. Black mule, pulling children
up an endless hill, roped by the steel tail I misread as there, not there, there.
In the gills of a fish, the venom pulses. In the body, I sense her coming, and what would
this do for my eyes, the yellow streak, scales bleeding into the blue?
No stars shine out in a white sky. My realization is not like me walking over the grass,
nor like the steps that I might make, lumbering through the clover, I do try.
65. LUCY LOOKS
I’m not sure what matters anymore, especially beyond the gray chair’s legs,
stuck in the sun spots, brown, opening in the grass.
I wish I could be more whimsical, or say that the form I have chosen to speak in,
were mine. I am less efficient—
my race is never suspect, because I walk into a room and lay flat
against the walls,
a super sheening against more than anything than the leaves outside,
and there are times when I cannot see, and make dumb comments
of what’s promised in the under-painting, like it might be in the tree’s matter,
or frozen under the silence of my attention to what’s revealed.
I know people are chattering, in their sleep, about my face, my body,
what I did wrong.
What am I saying in the morning,
when I am barely clear, when what am I saying
in the afternoon, beats down on my back,
the buzz of the hour in which I paint my eyes black.
67. LUCY GETS INTO THE MIST
I didn’t think it was rain. Besides, I hung my tank out to dry, and the idea of slipping on
something wet wasn’t a possibility. The window seemed to bubble between leaves.
I was a girl, fat. My eyes opened up to the sky, and what I saw was the moon, cut across
by the light of delirium in a field.
I was swinging, back and forth, moving as though my very life was floating through my
swinging. I was hovering above the bark of the playground, the world below my feet.
I rose and fell from the pendulum. Why did that little brown boy, who was so cute and
round pick up the flat basketball and hurl it at my face?
What rage shot through his body—wasn’t I his friend? Wasn’t I smiling with him in an
endless joy, so much so, that my face didn’t deserve to be smacked by the ball?
It’s morning, and out of the corner of my eye, an orange shadow, the smell of coffee,
filling the face of his force, like the discovery of a bungee cord, a black jeep, attacks.
There is my feeling, in remembering, a phantom smack breaking on my face,
the welt of this memory enclosing me deeper in.
68. LUCY LETS IN THE LIGHT
Form for me is a matter of not ripping open the blinds,
or looking through the slats that block the tree.
Green, I should care less about the whole of what I think
and invest in more of what’s left behind in shadows,
recessed in the space, I realize, here, there is no-one
like me, my heart still in my chest, yet a feeling of deadness
reached out and tugged across where I am staring through it.
Often, like this, I am stuck not by purpose, but by a kind
of laziness, a feeling that slits into me like an envelope
ripped at one end to let in air. There are lines that come,
and, too, my body sifts across the mark of my own confidence.
I push myself forward, hard, enough to never stop.
There is a fold in my chest, but I remember a fire burning, and
Somewhere, I am sweating.
Wild, I don’t want to see a white girl in black, or hear two
whites whisper about whatever made this or that structure great.
What I am doing is yelling out of a window, seeking waterfalls
or cemeteries, plots, places, where the body
affirms a still, stuck, shape in the mind. My nails are growing,
breaking out of the skin, a hard pulling growth,
where I dream I’m in an elevator, which slides open, a fly
flies up to hit my arm, bounces and takes back off.
69. LUCY AND LOSS
Up a hill, I was going nowhere, so too, the detail not on my eyes, today, the undone face,
twisted in a heart of found rage, some loss, my artifact: a siren screams.
Sometimes, when the sun has no face, I see the back of a white,
buffed by night, a trail of leaves covering my hate for you. In the eyes,
a swipe of my own hate racked and left out, where flowers grow
up through the dirt, and then get walked over, by anyone.
In this way, I see, waste. This is the way, too, I see the broken glass on a rock,
pieces that I scrape up and throw out of the earth. Ripped by the pills I take
down to the pool, the interrupted meter of my own making—
sadness cuts into some other white, who actually thinks race is not fake.
What a way to be cooked. What a way to break open the morning,
as the sun rips out over the edge of the mountains.