after Gwendolyn Brooks
She’s got a hundred & two temperature,
delivery room nurses said. You’re
gonna live, though—long enough
to know you’re going
to go as quickly as you came, gonna
make your mother swear by you, going to
shake your Bible with red-tipped nails
before you vanish
into Chicago South Side skies that bleed—
not like watercolor, not like a wound, not
like a fat, bitten plum—not necessarily.
No, not necessarily.
Nothing that precious or predictable. Speak
nicely to others & they will nicely
speak to you, your mother said.
No, not so, you said fairly
close to the end. No time to wait for mother’s
ride home or for saviors, coming soon.
Copyright © 2020 Yona Harvey
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.