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1.

The night a comet

with its silver tail

tucked between its legs

fell through darkness

to rest in the Wades'

dead field

Papa stood

on the back stoop

unmoving, wolf

starved in metal trap

teeth broken from winter's

harsh bite.

In the back of the shotgun

the crooked step jutting

out like a lip, he could see

the sky neck, feel the stars

shake they heads

That night he threw

the fallen stone

back to sky

the stars watched

it all come down

to ruined earth again.

Sky would not take back

what she had done

the fields spent,

barren.

2.

When the wagonwheel broke

shattered like Siss Bo

right knee, they fled

and Papa left

the wagon leaning

in the road.

The horse sweated

at high noon

the two youngest

on its back.

He shook its head

but not at the burden

the way Rushia

took the seed bags

the brown scuffed case

filled with the children's

best, adjusted

her Sunday hat.

Papa stood on the hard

packed road, stroking

the horse lathered

in froth, whistled once

and then the whole damn

sky fell on him.




Sheree Renée Thomas is the author of Sleeping Under the Tree of Life (Aqueduct Press, named on the 2016 James Tiptree, Jr. Award “Worthy” List and honored with a Publishers Weekly Starred Review) and Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems. She is the editor of the groundbreaking anthologies, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (winner of the 2001 World Fantasy Award) and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (winner of the 2005 World Fantasy Award). Her speculative stories and poems also appear in Apex Magazine, Harvard’s Transition, Smith’s Meridians, NYU’s Black Renaissance Noire, Callaloo, ESSENCE, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & FantasyMythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, Revise the Psalm: Writers Celebrate the Work of Gwendolyn Brooks, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables, Jalada Afrofuture(s), Afrofuturo(s), Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, Inks Crawl, Memphis NoirMojo Rising: Contemporary Writers, and the black women’s horror anthology, Sycorax’s Daughters. Her work has been translated in French, Urdu, and Spanish and her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times and other publications. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Thomas is the Associate Editor of Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora. Find her on Instagram @shereereneethomas and on Twitter @blackpotmojo.
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