Does It Matter Who Is Your Redeemer

since the wired-eyed man couldn’t tell our home from the crack house next door: white as base when real good or dingy as aunt nora when she rolled back that rock The raggedy kids next door, always uninvited A rusted car grumbled and muffled them away For every flick’d pipe-flame, their mother spit out a pearl Their daddy’s greasy willows stuck to his days-stained shirt Through windows, wind snow sleet I’d hear them suckling that love affair until he smacked that then smacked her around Mema said she knew it was coming: the night glass groaned crash, my mother’s fire became higher, higher! I tried to pull beyond that loam of sleep, out of a grave vision Stretched my arms into brown vines crawling through the pitch, flames bright and hot as angels Crackle ashed our house clean My mother drug my limp-woke body down the drive like impatience is a virtue approximate to flight And fight How long it took to quash her rage: waiting on the engine men Waiting for my father For rain Mema says prayers need feet I count on my toes to ten, ten times til our house becomes a missing tooth in the night’s mouth