Penciled ancestors taped on a wall row
Hold eyes steadier than mine. Familial
Stories have been told of murderers, preachers,
Slave-owners, and a patriarchal thrower
Of stones. Lives tangled, lives-gospel-straightened,
Lives curling like vines. Once lived, now
Singled out, once upon a time died.
They stare ahead immobilized by an aunt's
Careful sketch; I wonder of their float
Between life and life-Next. Besides
The mustache on lips, the lacy frock around
Neck, the jacket and tie for portrait worn,
What deep regrets were released into the last-
Gasped air? Or, were they sick or unaware?
Notorious and common, like me,
Did they wonder too why they were meant to be?
Without their life on a string, I would not be strung.
I would not have had a daughter or a son. Thus,
I could use their faces as a dartboard, or I could
Color their starkness with care. For they tell me
Within each lifeless stare about the fate we share.
I wonder what picture will be used
When I am taped or nailed upon a wall.
I wonder who will be the new wonderer
Upon my trumpet call. Hello!
Enjoy your colors! Exhale!
For wherever you end up eternally going
You're embodied to dance