“Speak, Road” by Sherre Vernon

March 31, 2015

I was poor in Atlanta and you reached
for the space of vowels. My feet chapped
though Midtown. Incapable of casing,
my skin raked itself to a bare percussion, my soles
shuffled themselves to stone.

A dirt road along the infantile rubbing of gnats.
I dug for you, Peter, in Nicaragua, along the blade
of a reforested field. Past the white lime mural
of Ortega, and heard you, small, dying,
plucking at your legs, unchained and weeping.

Red stories of Montreal. Cohen
through spray-can highways, through
the bawd tar of Vegas. My grandfather.
My brother. Bare feet on the sun-dusted
Cliffside. Pebbles. A humming.

Behind the Master’s flat, in Moscow.
The metro is a cobbled square. Time
feints backward toward old women,
apples. I know myself in the sandals
of a bearded baritone.

In the streets of this city, the concrete
river pushes up stucco and palm. When pressed,
we all confess the breath that hides
the sighing that we swallow
when we mean to say God.

Speak, Road.

 

sherrevernon headshotSherre Vernon works and lives in Los Angeles. Her poetry has been published in over a dozen literary journals, including Ars Medica, The Coe Review, Fickle Muses, Eclipse, and The Pedestal Magazine. Green Ink Wings, her postmodern novella, won the 2005 chapbook award from Elixir Press. In 2008, The Name is Perilous, a poetry chapbook, appeared in the final publication of the journal Ruah.

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