The Anthology 
Fire






CLOSE


By Douglas Kearney



The funk, recall,
as most Black Mess
once was and is
sickness. Fool,
how much oogie
in your jeebie?
Our Black behinds
been hunkered in
this house, this now
“transitional” hood,
we steal away where
they called “White Cliffs”—
Fool! how much mni
in your pa?
Baby girl’s coughs
been wet, ok,
so stays at trilling
what pops. We spit
out this kitchen
bags up of chicken
bones to that rank bin
in the alley till
no soup tints bowls.
It smells close, says N
for funky sure
since winter’s
steady eavesdropping,
greedy tom-peeping
for five months, near. Now
Ma’s newest skincare
tincture scents foodish
out our lone loo. Fool,
how much acai
in your argan?
What we can’t eat
off love even out
brown hands done, thus
I’m gone to market.
Once, my son shadowed—
copped kale, potatoes,
milk, cereals—though
now he must set
home in his blossom
of must there, where
we close. Minding my gap
twixt strained neighbors,
drilling what have I
touched? My hands stay on
ashes, ashes—fool,
how much Jergens
in your Palmer’s?
Out the store, day
broke, to our dank home,
got them bleach wipes, yeah,
back-porched in the cut.
We keep some sickness
out.