Size / / /

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 creates art inspired by myth and folklore, natural science and the genius culture of the Mississippi Delta. Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future (Third Man Books, May 26, 2020) is her first fiction collection. Two multigenre/hybrid fiction and poetry collections, Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, longlisted for the 2016 Otherwise Award and Shotgun Lullabies were published by Aqueduct Press. She edited the Dark Matter volumes (World Fantasy Award 2001, 2005) that first introduced W.E.B. Du Bois’s work as science fiction, and she was the first black author to be honored with the World Fantasy Award since its inception in 1975. Her work is widely anthologized and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received honorable mention in the Year's Best volumes. A Cave Canem Fellow, her poems and essays have appeared in the New York Times and other publications. She serves as the Associate Editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora (Illinois State University, Normal). She lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Find her on Instagram/Facebook @shereereneethomas and on Twitter @blackpotmojo.
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