"Ever since happiness heard your name,
it has been running through the streets trying to find you."
In my mind’s museum,
violence and weeds are obsolete.
Clocks have no hands.
Tomorrow is a slow current.
Water and a nimbus of light
fill the gallery of my birth.
I am wild with impatience,
rush to swim through
my mother’s womb.
When she speaks my name
into the universe,
happiness puts on running shoes,
chases my faint scent.
It has no straight line
to me. I wobble through the years
regretting, reliving, remembering
rejoicing in the artifacts of my life.
Memory returns me to Betsy McCall’s flat world
where innocence is two dimensional.
Glee plays on my tongue
when my six-year old coffee-colored hands
cut segregation’s polite and glossy wardrobe
from the magazine.
I dress paper dolls
with cotton-candy-colored cheeks
and hair the shade of summer wheat.
After humming Jesus Loves the Little Children,
I tell my white paper sisters stories
of three bears, a sleeping beauty and a red-hooded girl.
I do not have beautiful black fairytales.
The sun slow dances over a carpetless floor.
Baskets of September heat hang from high windows.
I am fifteen; the band hall’s wooden doors squeal open.
My brother walks forward, face lined with a smile,
a saxophone case dangling in his right hand.
The band plays Happy Birthday.
I am drenched in swells of surprise.
I try to flood my voice with words;
my throat is a gutter of joyful tears.
Curious how the body stuffs itself with time,
cannot feel the difference between old and new.
A fist of wind and scratch of light
on the bedroom window
rouse me from shuffling
through these decades of recollections.
There is nothing like the traffic of memories.
There is nothing like the bread of dreams.