What it does.


 By Shanita Bigelow


               I am not a man.
               Were there a place for this kind of truth, it would rest like a hand at rest, only as heavy as
it tends/needs to be.
There are numbers and signs and bedposts and other treasures left for streetwear.
            In your mouth I found a mound                          and in time it will uncover itself, reveal
the buried, your ancestry kept beneath, sublingual and integrating, sublingual and dissolving,
sublingual, making its way through your vessels, shining light in new space, building mounds of elbow
and knuckle, pancreas and gallbladder, your eye.              It is not what it does,
not the purpose of a purpose anymore; rather, a guise—calm teeth compelled to mercy and
your eye, the one made of dried tubers               and plantains, the one well versed in the forsaken,
the sacred. In your palm a repository for yes.
                                                                                                                      Yes.                              Yes.         Yes.
There is a shaker being shaken at this very moment and could you hear, you might dance or fright,
you might swallow or listen.              Shake then. The answers you seek exist not in the cumbersome
notes, the copious, not in all those hands, your eye, but in the flavor, the flavor of yes and/or
thank you.               Yes, thank you.
                   If salmon were a gun and smoked, how would you maneuver                        the catch, gesture,
maneuver fork and knife through barrel and flesh—scaled is the freshness of our decrees for the
sanctity, for the answers.                     And life can exist in new measures, line after line after line after. Do
not forsake the smoked gun, the smoking salmon, the smoke.
                                                                                                                    What you’ve left of me today is more
than enough for two. Maybe, I said. Maybe.               Keep in mind what you keep in isolation. There are
carts for this kind of mercy. Call it fear or something like it or not. Call it anything but sorrow
because sorrow does not exist. Not as it should.                                                                    Instead
we are left to want for more and watch the bleeding, the smoking, crying out for another and
another and another, our tongues lost in a cannon, combustible and ugly, grimy like how you said
you’d be there.                               Watch as the pain rejects any exposure to this that does not exist.
Have we forgotten? Again                         and there is another line, more/mere mercy and other things
like webs or candor or a golden rhyme.                                                      Memories are stacked, steeped
                                                                          in what we know of it and then.




Shanita Bigelow, originally from North Carolina, currently resides in Chicago where she works and writes. She has work published or forthcoming in the DAP Journal, NAP and African American Review.

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