Why I Carry Winter In My Bones

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

A Poem for Nikki Giovanni

You carry winter in your bones

ink tipped fingers
your palms parchment dried in heat
you transcribe our tuesdays into poetry
translate our brown into gold and magic

you– floating between bone and flesh
like music
like the hollow of marrow
like the promise of may in december
like the  bits of your soul
still unbroken

you, conduit from the sun to the living
you spine fused with steel
you who taught me to fix my eyes towards the sky
like the truth of me be in some cloud formation
because of you, i saw my face in the moon
your words quick step and slow hip roll
I full lipped and back dipped low
slow molasses understanding of self
until you came as flash
forced me to love myself as lightening
love myself incredible
brown girl in a sea of blonde cornfed blue
nobody looked like we
i carried you in my back pocket
secret weapon of pride
protected my smile
like backs bent broken cleaning
America’s excess off sticky floors
like trip on this
because your life depends on it.
Because my life depended on it,
i birthed myself a new tongue
one unbottled and unlocked
built this language on throats
hoarse from silence
wrote my bones into powder
blew our dust across pages
across stages
across lifetimes
across a town too white picket fence
to love me
across hearts to heavy to love me
you taught me how to love me
and I listened
cornrowed, cross legged, thrift store clothes
your words like heat

map towards a heaven of my creation

because of you, i carry winter in my bones
had permission to dream
wrote my name on the moon
exist between bone and flesh
ink tipped fingers
parchment palms
you incredible