She of Ecclesiastes & cream-colored envelope,
the mother mails
to summer cousin—
cash, food stamps, regards:
Your bosom is
a great big city, pink chenille
for other folks’ children. Six weeks of pillowed
nights to dream of freeways, malts & shortstop,
my son jumped off the sighing Greyhound belching Sunkist,
Patrina & Pea-Eye, his new bus-seat friends—
belief & noise stuck to his chest, yelling he’d thumbed
way back to basement-paneled Sixteenth Street Baptist:
Cynthia, Carol & Carole & Addie Mae—back to 15 September 1963
Child, came home chirping Five Points South,
UAB, Thirteenth Avenue North, Dynamite Hill,
Legion Field & Dr. A.G. Gaston:
Part of all you earn is yours to keep.
The truth is red:
Next to them that’s got shall get, I twitch.
You wear raven silk taut at the nape of the neck.
In wards of Pac-Man, Adidas, & Atari,
you ushered in this rattle of awe—
glorious Black Fever!
Copyright © 2021 Rodney Terich Leonard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.