Bardo

My parents say
I stooped to sing
to dead crows on the curb

Nighttimes,
they drove me past
dead end signs
so I could flirt
with what lay beyond them

I piled around me
in my canopy bed
a pillow grave
so I could pretend at death.

Tonight
amid the pillows
I fold my arms across my chest
and hope to remember
whether death fancied me

and whether the crows
whispered back.

Da thing

Enunciate — The

The
thing I wanted to tell you
is dat

That

That
I used to sit
in the chair across
from my father

And dat

That

That
I couldn’t pronounce
th’s da way

The

The
way he wanted.

It isn’t dat

That

That
I have nothing to say.

It’s just dat

That

That
half da

The

The time,
I don’t think

you’re willing to wait.

I asked my God

for a black leather biker jacket
from the secondhand store

about twenty dollars, please,
I said

instead He did me one better
and answered
a long unspoken wish

I’d eyed one
in the J. Peterman catalog
for years
a duster,
cowboy coat,
made of oilcloth
split down the back
straps for each leg

my father frowned
at my tomboyishness
when I was a teenager
and refused to buy it

but my God
found me one, black,
at the secondhand store
for twenty-five dollars

my God,
who answers back,
“Ride ’em, cowgirl!”