Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tuesday poem #530 : Isaac Pickell : two poems


I visit my parents’ house and all I see is evergreen

when we left the old
place, I unearthed
a spruce sapling
from the woods,

a naïve piece
of home to follow
me to bright white
clapboard siding and

shared backyards    for
years I kept it in
a modest pot
until it was

stunted by the act
of survival     now
it stands nothing
like tall, but still

stands, in too bright
light that crisps its
edges and turns
them brown



You visit your parents’ house and all you see is dust

they move sore
and sturdy, a slight
snag in their gait, a
token of heaving time

splayed out behind
them and littered
with unfinished
injury     the back

door is sealed with
shipping tape, like
money’s some
thing you can

trap with guile, but
there is still a draft
following the course
of their unpaid taxes

& settling between
the other pieces of
furniture that litter
the space     you know

they need a hand but
cannot afford one &
someday all this
will be yours




Isaac Pickell is a Black and Jewish poet and PhD student in Detroit, where he teaches and studies the borderlands of black literature. He is the author of everything saved will be last (Black Lawrence Press, 2021) and It’s not over once you figure it out (Black Ocean, 2023), and his most recent work can be found in Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, and Passages North. Isaac’s taken a seat in all fifty states and has so much to look forward to.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan


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