My body lies down

in muck and mire,

taunts me with its needs—

food, water, a place

to rest.

My body walks,

talks to people

asks for fifty cents

or a dollar, for a bus ride

to some place where it

can eat and drink.

I no longer know where this body

came from, ghosts

and signs from God telling me

I must keep moving

or the loud ugly crowd

will close in.

Sometimes other bodies blur

on the sidewalk,

they are me, too, or

they would not be here,

would they—?

Where my body lies down

is not a created space.

Sleep comes quick and hard.

I wonder why I still wake up,

every morning pushing hunger

upon me.

I don’t think about

an ending.  Every moment

is the end.  Every minute

dies in a luckless line

of unfed breaths.

Yet in faded dreams

I can almost see

green lands where yams

and plantains and children grow strong,

even though I’ve never been there.

Yes, my body breathes

wherever it wanders,

sits or lies, but because

in this city I can barely

see the sky, I no longer know


Patrice Wilson is poetry editor at Decolonial Passage. She was born in Newark, NJ and has a PhD in English with concentrations in postcolonial theory and literature. She wrote a poetry thesis, “Between the Silence,” for her MA. She has three chapbooks with Finishing Line Press, and one full-length book, Hues of Darkness, Hues of Light, with eLectio Publishing. Her poetry has been published in several journals. Having been a professor and editor of the literary magazine at Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, HI, where she lived for many years, she is now retired and resides in Mililani, HI.

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