"Backing into the Void" by Red Tweny.
© Please do not reproduce without artist's permission.
by Deonte Osayande
Today, I brush my teeth until I draw
blood that isn't mine. I've swallowed
so many names belonging to the dead. When
asked how I'm doing I want to say don't come
to me for water. My hole in the ground
hasn't been dug yet. I'm not well. I can't recall
if I've washed my face today. I'm not the morning person
I want to be. I shower with sunlight
in hopes that I will grow out of all of this
which I have become. I'm not the mourning person I want
to be. My sister did with her life what quarterbacks get paid to do.
My sister did what speeding drivers do to slow cars
on the highway. My sister did what good students do
in their favorite class. That is to say I've never been taught
how to handle when someone passes. I shy away
from most people these days, as they smile
like poachers and I'm the elephant in the room. I want
to believe them when they say everything will be alright
but I just become a filled water cooler around their casual
conversations. Despite how many of my buttons will be pressed.
I won't shed a drop. I won't lose my layers, I won't shed a tear
like I want to. I won't become old brakes screeching. I won't
be a hammer punching through walls like I want. I'll swallow
it all again, like a hole in the ground, like the well unseen.
Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Michian. His poems and essays have been published in over a dozen publications and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has been a member of the Detroit National Poetry Slam Team multiple times. He's currently teaching English at Wayne County Community College, and through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program.
MORE FROM THIS ISSUE: