Alive w/ Mingus Plays the Piano Track One


Myself when I am real leads
with the highest concentrated artery
in the body. Checks for patterns
of coagulation & bruising that isn’t
a bruise. Bloodclots. I search my skin from the maze grated
in my big toe to the apex of my wave
cap adorned, or abandoned in sleep turns. My nappy
blasphemy. Cotton to pillow, tuft directly
to tuft, Kat Williams somewhere scoffing at the brokenness
of my predicament, but I get my haircut every 10
days religiously, holy water upon the sharpest hands
my smile whitening from the outside
in as my hairline approaches its crispest corners.
It cannot be the day I demise if my hairline
is a sun-distracted mower’s consequence.
I’ve paid my penance for shape-
up & tapper, fresh to death.

A writer born and raised in Queens, Nabila Lovelace’s debut book of poems, Sons of Achilles, is out now through YesYes Books.

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