A Response to the Misguided Student

That semester we watched all those movies
& called it interracial: the leading roles
Were all played by early career blockbuster stars
But only one film busted the theaters, busted certain
Americans deeper into the dimness of their skulls —
Our birth, our nation. Your voice deep enough,
After so many years of smoke, its frequency still
Trundles my inner ear. You didn’t know then,
& I couldn’t have either, that your lone question —
What happens when you ignore a part of someone?
Would flood me, and in time, knock down
Every structure. At the center of every film
We studied, two people crossed into each other,
The world around us filled with water or fire or both.


Prayer to You, Friend

You taught me my eyes burn out the blue
Of a furnace, enough to dissolve the soft tissue,
Turn bone to soot, that the whites delight you,
Their haunt hotter than a whole moon blaze.
What monster am I today, dear to you?
How is it you find all the nodes of me, rhizome
Letting out roots, rest them in your palm?
Am I beast built of fern, rich earth that buries you,
Or propane torch nobody can touch?
Dear burn victim, protect your exposed nerves,
Let the doctors graft you closer to whole,
Trust the morphine dosage. No more than that,
Please. Find your fingers again, touch
Each one to your thumb, then write yourself back.