Iain Haley Pollock
Like a Blind Boy Jumping from Shed to Shed
As Dad drove up on the
his own face torqued into a scream.
When she tried to move around him,
he blocked her with his broad body,
and they left the trace of their argument
printed in the tree pollen that the new leaves
had dusted onto the road. Dad pulled
his Chevette between them, and told me, six,
to roll down my window. The woman
leaned in, her brown eyes like glass beads,
and pleaded, DonŐt let him bruise me.
Reaching diagonally across the car,
Dad popped the lock. The woman clambered
into the backseat, while the man
beat the roof above DadŐs head,
screaming, You leave
the clutch and the car rolled away into D.C.
After she gave directions, the woman didnŐt talk
and bobbed her head to the Howard station
WHUR, Sounds Like Washington, soul.
Comin for to Carry Me
Some nights in the
I drop it near a termite
I wake with a memory of cheekbones
scarred during the
But this is the curse: I
I am lost in this
industrial brick and rust,
Child of the Sun
Great Great Aunt Aida
trained her lapdog
to attack dark-skinned men.
A shake of her high-yaller head
and a suck on her ivory teeth,
and the Scottish terrier slipped
through the fence pickets
Somewhere in her heaven,
Aunt Aida fusses today:
naked to the waist
in a plastic lawn chair,
I am a tanner of calf hide,
curing my skin in the sun,
browning my limbs like strips
of chicken in a skillet.
Aida dreamed the family
would fade into a whiteness
of table manners and book learning,
and with me she came close.
But Mom must have eaten
a pig's foot when she was pregnant,
or played those Aretha records
too loudly. Or, I took it too hard,
that time in the grocery store
when a woman confused
my caramel brown Mother
for my nanny: I stay in the yard
all afternoon, hoping to blind
my eyes with scales and molt
like a sidewinder, to leave behind
a trail of skin, flaking, brittle and white,
cracking and split in the sun.