Monday Jul 22

PearsonDustin Dustin Pearson earned his MFA from Arizona State University, where he served as the editor of Hayden's Ferry Review. He was awarded the 2015 Katharine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets for his poem “The Black Body Auditions for a Play.” He is the recipient of fellowships from the Watering Hole, Cave Canem, and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Born in Charleston, he is from Summerville, SC.

A Palace of Ice

Mom mostly cries at night. We don’t always know why. We could sleep through it but we stay up with her, as if staying behind a door across the hall might make it fine. We huddle with each other under covers, flashlight beaming or eyes closed pretending to be asleep. Sometimes her crying streams under the crack of our door. Before long it’s bed level. The bedframe sinks but we lift up from it on the mattress. We use our hands to paddle. Everything in the house is ruined and wet, then everything turns dangerous. Us boys make off surviving mom’s sadness. We open the door and it drains. We let our mother carry us into winter.

Love, the Ugly

Our mother’s hair
fell sharp
as razor wire,
her hands morphed
to talons,
her smell,
wet iron,
and for a while
every touch
she gave
was a cut
on us, every kiss
sent toxins
into our veins.
We could hear
how her bones
snapped, see smoke
exit at each
of their breakings,
and all through
the night
we heard
her screams,
every story
told a curse,
each of us
its container.