Find a Father Figure II
after Malena Mörling
In a crumbling cemetery above a man you’ve barely met
In a London pub near Hampstead Heath
In a double-shot of Jack
In the apex of a plane’s ascent
In the Atlantic ocean
In Otis Redding
In this pain in my heart / just won’t let me be
Specifically, in his timbre
In his lyrics’ pause, in the music’s bridge
In the silence between
In the red and green phosphenes
In the set of wheels rolling and grounding
In the days after landing
In second sleep
In cliché, like mama said there’d be days like this
In the sunrise when your blinds are cracked and you have to pee
In the walk from the apartment to your car
In the small piles of dog feces lining the pavement
In the grass
In your least favorite memory of mushiness and grass
In the cover of an umbrella
In the casket
In droplets under wrapped plastic
In the last viewing
In the yellow head of a tulip
Across the Riverline
Your white hand in my brown hand
on a Friday. We watch the comedian Louis C.K.
We both laugh when he says,
I love being white.
Because kinky, curly, afro-textures annoy you,
you fume anytime you find my hair on the floor.
You say they look like long pubes.
When I get my hair styled to stay in place,
you wince. In public, you walk ahead of me.
You say I look unprofessional.
You think I dumb myself down to talk to black people.
You deny the existence of code-switching.
Two hours ago I mumbled I love you.
I’d love to, but
I didn’t fall in love
with you; I think I fell in love
with your good intentions; I fell in love
unintentionally; I fell in love lying
under a tree, in tangled grass
reading next to you.
Our toes touched, the pages flipped
faster; I fell in love running
fingers through your hair
when you were sick; I fell in love
and didn’t care I fell in love; incorrectly,
you assumed one day I would
remove the matching black tattoo
from my ring finger; I fell in love
head between your knees, then
in your womb; I fell in
love with other women—black-haired,
mocha-skinned, beautiful women,
a red-head, two brunettes,
a blonde, and always their brown eyes.
Then your blue eyes greened, but
with toffee skin I fell in love
a long time ago, on a bus, with a girl hidden
from my right eye by the sunlight’s glisten; I fell in love.