coming out of the shadows.
I knew that life could be taken away
by rude, large hands raised in the dark.
All the words would not soothe
I would lose an Aunt.
I dug the hole.
I could not discuss it in hushed rooms
with the Aeolian piano.
They were only mentioned at Christmas
or holidays but never a mention
of the men that took them from me
never a mention of how they came to be
with the preachers words
just pushing the burial shroud.
James River erupting at the shore
of my ability to listen
“she looked good…”
doubled over, permanently bent
I could not straighten
there were too many
tombstones to see
too many men I did not want to be.
Dennis Reed is a native New Yorker and a former member of the infamous poetry group, Bud Jones. His work has appeared in Essence, Style, CLA and many other magazines and literary journals. He has taught writing courses at Morehouse College, William and Mary and VCU.