These Things Happen

By Amber McBride
You woke up dead,
intention gone wolf,
a tongue of fraying ribbon,
___—-it licked its lips and nipped
___—-at your bare-brown heels.

Fall into the wind, let it support
___—-the soles of your feet.
Forgotten every psalm? Go make love,
whisper, call it prayer. Braid your hair
or grow it until it locs, call yourself messiah,
___—-who is to say you’re not?

Feeling strong?

In an orange shirt
___—-you resemble a phoenix strutting
porch rails, quilting the sun out of the sky.

Mouth hands up. Drown
___—-soaked from clothes to bone.

Morning rituals (wash, brush, shrink)
___—-don’t throw stones.

There are things you will naturally misplace:
___—-birth bones, black boys to bullet wounds, milk teeth.
Amber McBride is currently a professor at Northern Virginia Community College and is the former media assistant at the Furious Flower Poetry Center. She received her MFA from Emerson College in 2012. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Provincetown Arts, Barehands Poetry, and others.