Because you laughed when I said the world needs poetry

by Jaime Speed

I tried to tell you the world
needs poetry as much as a vaccine
I read strangers’ faces like tarot cards for signs
of myself in the smashed cauliflower of their worry

I catch the rattling in my bones again, the pitch
of my favourite song and no one stops
me from listening to it 37 times a day
like the flash of whiskers your memory stipples to my thigh
I chart the stars with my teeth
grinding dot to dot connecting the world
needs teeth whitening, gym time, vitamins, fresh music, less
freckling, less skin, less self, less silence, more sirens
tangled hair, family ties, a row of dog ends dancing
in your patchwork quilt saved
for later, singed but not burning, we handle
threads & bits of fabric like lock downs, enforced
alone time, a space big enough
to outgrow ourselves

isn’t so bad our horoscopes
predict disqualification, it’s ok
to write the whole year off
as long as next year
we’re gonna get away with it
the world is a syndrome
and we’re just the symptoms matching
the bane with our own grit
I brush my teeth 7 times a day
left-handed, hands washed
7 times more, no body
sees this part in the movies
the braiding and unbraiding of hair
re-watching the lifecycle of ladybugs
empty arms anxious to rake up
their springtime shells in a jumble
of unearthed debris the year over
heaped up and hauled away
with the defamed ruins of last year’s garden
know that I hear you when you say
you hadn’t meant to leave it
so untended, it’s ok, dear, the world
needs forgiveness for a crime it didn’t commit

Jaime Speed lives, works, and plays in Saskatchewan, Canada. A fan of reading, gardening, throwing weights, and dancing badly, she has recently been published in The Rat’s Ass ReviewDear Loneliness ProjectHobo Camp ReviewAnti-Heroin Chic, and OyeDrum Magazine, with work forthcoming in Psaltery & Lyre and Channel along with collections by Ship Street Poetry and Gnashing Teeth Publications. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.

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