Readings — From the February 2018 issue

The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady & The Dead & The Truth

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By Morgan Parker, from the poetry collection Magical Negro, which will be published by Tin House in 2019. Parker’s collection There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé was published last year by Tin House.

For one thing, I hate stillness. On the front porch,
waiting, I see an animal I don’t recognize:

feet of a bird, wings of a leaf. The grotesqueness
of attachment, the loudness of the woods, I knew it

when I was dead before. I died for my sins
and because of this, I am in the woods now,

aching. It is June. I am used to being
a certain kind of alone. Soon my photosynthesis

will complete, and I will be the gap
between Angela Davis’s teeth. Do you ever

love something so much you become it?
Like how when hard rain comes, you learn

quick. You straighten your shoulders and hope
this is better than touching.

I say casual death , and the half-moon
is my enemy, some uncertain white girl.

I wish I didn’t care. I am myself
shaking hands, so subtle no one notices.

Sometimes, it’s my rib cage, or my throat
does the same damn thing as my skull,

the little bear inside it. Please
don’t make me repeat myself.

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