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Category archive for: Mitchel L.H. Douglas

When a woman hits on you in a bookstore,

the world

comes together. Different

than supermarket browsing,

a lean & linger over a patch

of shriveling strawberries, the way

you took 10 minutes agonizing

over the freshest batch of kale

when your daily plate

is bread & potatoes. No,

these are conscious decisions,

mind taut & angular, a weapon

w/many edges. Not a dull cleaving

before the butcher’s counter—

this     is serious.

& after the third time

she walks by the poetry aisle

where you laugh aloud about

[insert cool name here] she

approaches, basket brimming

w/Hurston, Baldwin, Larsen,

& a book of computer coding

you would pretend to understand

on any blessed night. “I was the one

from the parking lot, the one

who smiled when you walked in,”

she says,  & you

are alert. Alive.

from dying in the scarecrow’s armsFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2018
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Persist

I.

She plants the first kiss

in the back of a taxi, cabbie

craning his neck, eyes in rearview

to catch the warm press of lips.

We run

from cab to night, capital

breath pinning us to the hip

of One Way & DON’T

WALK, signs blinking black

surrender as we stand

in more eyes, the whip

of wind,

kiss again. Ready

for knees, the kneel

& spin of our steal—

away song, I stop her

in winter’s thaw, chirp

I love you

before feet rush

our bodies indoors

to corner tables

& candlelight.

Yes,

you do

she laughs, & I

lose my coat,

get acquainted

w/cold.

from dying in the scarecrow’s armsFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2018
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

The Illusion of Hips

after Lucille Clifton

Caught in the angle of sun & slight breeze, her skirt, melon, balloons. This, she says, is for the illusion of hips, but she needs nothing to make her more. Petal & stem, hair like a crown of baby’s breath falling to her shoulders, sweet rain. Born in Buffalo, she studied @ the same high school as Ms. Lucille, which tells me she could be a poet by osmosis, a good one even (something in the water). Please forgive me, I am trying to describe beauty, inner & outer, & isn’t that always the trouble: the risk of walking in stale words? I am trying not to be that poet, I am trying to impart honor, & I will be successful when I mention that after talking about the hips she doesn’t have, she smiles like a new world, & you nod your head know exactly what I mean.

from dying in the scarecrow’s armsFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2018
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.