In the city in which I works best
there is no you. Understand that
understanding means an opening
where there should be a wall. If you build
a bridge it’ll just be broken
once a foot becomes steps. The signal
we saw in faraway smoke said
the need for help is a warning
that the helper will soon become
the one in need. Gold is gold
because we put a limit on the number
of hands that can hold it. How could you
disgrace this nation built on the backs bent under
the weight of the forest that felled them?
If a thousand tulips insist on their colors,
the field of green will still be green. Still,
out of the many, one is the only pronoun
we can find room for. The point of every
dollar we’ve earned is to prove to ourselves
our own favor. And God is the green who favors
our greens. O, say. We light by our own gun
the scope from which we’ll never escape.
Emma Bolden is the author of three full-length collections of poetry – House Is An Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013) – and four chapbooks. The recipient of a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and such journals as theMississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, the Indiana Review, Shenandoah, the Greensboro Review, andThe Journal. She currently serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief for Tupelo Quarterly. You can find out more at EmmaBolden.com.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan