Poem 5 ± June 9, 2015

L. Lamar Wilson
Family Reunion, 1993

When I am asked whose tears these are, I always blame the moon.—Lucille Clifton

I give my cousin my hand & think
of the year before, how he’d held me aloft,

his bicep pulsing against the weight
of my bones & adoration. Can I get it

by touching him? I wonder but don’t speak,
don’t let go until his slick flesh kisses

the commode, then trace curlicues & stars
into my stucco canvas amid his grunts & sighs,

stare at the moon I’ve made there as full of itself
as the one that had shone on us at the reunion,

our mothers in orbit around us in their own groove
with Frankie Beverly. I’m flying! I had beamed

at myself, gilded in his tooth: the only
shimmering thing in this dark, damp silence.

llamarwilsonL. Lamar Wilson is author of Sacrilegion (2013), winner of the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series and finalist for the Thom Gunn Poetry Award, and co-author of Prime: Poetry and Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), with the Phantastique Five. His poems and scholarly essays have appeared in African American Review, Black Gay Genius (2014), Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, jubilat, Muzzle, Obsidian, The 100 Best African American Poems (2010), Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (2015), Rattle, Vinyl and elsewhere. Lamar, a visiting assistant professor at Davidson College, holds a BS in newspaper journalism from Florida A&M University and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Tech and is completing a doctorate in African American and multiethnic American poetics at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

This poem appeared in Sacrilegion.