TWO POEMS

ABA-MICAH COLLINS SIBLEY

FIRST STEPS

I spoke
my first word early.

Mama, her doctorate in English,
was so proud.

She read me aloud Paradise Lost,
among others.

English came early
to me.

I recited
all men are created equal;

etching keloid scars
into my throat, early.

I heard
a black man shot by police;

raised blisters ringing
my ears, early.

I read
you drew your angel’s face too dark;

came home crying
through swollen eyelids, early.

Parents pierce their
infant’s ears early

rationalizing they won’t
remember the pain.

.

On reading my mother’s name in the inside-front cover of a borrowed book,
or, a new spelling of her name

First, then second
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

First;
……….a large loop, then smaller upstrokes, down
……….Finding letters, making patterns
……….name-making

then second;
……….Malcolm replaced his with an X
……….what had been taken (never forget)
……….Ours, to always remember

First;
……….pronounced the French way
……….only by you, music hidden under your tongue
……….A place you were happy

then second;
……….I’ve only known you since the pause
……….carrying two white mans’ names
……….An X through what is (will be)

First, then second
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aba Micah Collins-Sibley earned a degree in Africana Studies at Smith College and is currently an MFA candidate at UMass Amherst. Their poems have appeared, or are forthcoming in, Poetry.org and Sucarnochee Review. You can follow them on Tumblr.