Morgan Parker, negro sunshine

after Glenn Ligon after Gertrude Stein

A spade is a shovel. A shovel,
a spade. I, woman
without light in my throat.
Could I mail myself
to freedom, having never
seen? I am work. I could
be fist. Lick the language
from inside your cheeks.
Glow like a warm chest.
Sometimes I don’t shine
and I see, how a mirror
makes me two. Wake up
in strings, black
Radiohead. Black Sylvia
Plath. On those days I am
only an idea. A broom
sweeping. A constellation.
My sun is a gust of wind,
remembers the city before
it got post-Black. Of which
I am afraid, bruised rings
the patterns of my thighs.
Purple as a mountain my
small waist. If I could explain,
it’d be a song
my parents used to listen to
doing cocaine, understanding
the difference between them
and them. Like any other woman,
I am silly and sullen
with everything. Promiscuous
by nature, bending over
stratosphere to keep men
interested. I am trying not to
disappear into the night,
the dark arms of bed.
I wonder about my power,
my thighs, their
dawn-lit force. A fountain
lights up with part of me.
That’s not the part
I’m talking about now.