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Skin Trade Analysis

Author: Poetry of Reginald Shepherd Type: Poetry Views: 143

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Angel, Interrupted1996And then I said, That's what it means

to testify: to sit in the locked dark muttering

when you should be dead to the world. The muse

just shrugged and shaded his blue eyes. So naturally

I followed him down to his father's house

by the river, a converted factory in the old

industrial park: somewhere to sit

on threadbare cushions eating my words

and his promises, safe as milk

that dries the throat. If I had a home,

he'd be that unmade bed. He's my America

twisted in dirty sheets, my inspiration

for a sleepless night. No getting around that

white skin.He throws things out the window

he should keep; he collects things

he should feed to the river. He takes me

down. While there, I pick them up.The river always does this to me:

gulls squawking and the smell of paper mills

upstream, air crowded with effluents

like riding the bus underwater. I'm spending nights

in the polluted current, teaching sunken bodies how

to swim. My feet always stay wet. Sometimes

I leave footprints the shape of blood; sometimes glass

flows through broken veins, and I glitter.

Every other step refers to white men

and their names. The spaces in between

are mine.


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