Greg Parker

Mother’s eyes search my sleeping body
watching, for the rise and fall of my chest, praying

terra cotta, shoulder wars

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++when the urgent care

doctors ask me what happened++++++++
++++I tell them
I was drowned by home
by
++++++++++++++++++++orange soda cans, utz crab chips,
++++++++++++++++++++++++capri sun, wild cherry,++++river shells
brown paper bag, penned
++++in my summer name

++++++++++++++++++++++++this is yours,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++she tells me from Baltimore,

between fits of expectoration, I
name these chesapeake convulsions my hosanna

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++it rests,

somewhere between
++++++++glory and sunset

in a cloudy yellow-green summer of my memory
on the shoulders of someone whose face I no longer remember

++++++++++++++++++++++++water, sand, empty cigar box,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++driftwood, dead lighter, glass
I am lifted to the sky

Drowned,
lifted towards the sun, again,
++++++++++++Drowned,

they ask me, what happened
++++++++I tell them that in the end we won,
that we are
++++++++summer-camp-chicken-fight-warriors,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++I ride faceless shoulders from the beach,
I do not tell their owner
++++++++I have swallowed more victory than I could handle
do not tell them that
I have let my lungs fill with potomac and,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++mud
++++++++++++++++++++++++sticks to
++++++++sun blackened skin
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++sticks to++++++++++++++++open window,
drying++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++wet clothes
++++++++stick to
++++++++++++++++++++bus seat leather
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++sticks to
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++itchy arms
backs,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++faces.

when I am out of ear shot
the doctors warn my mother of dry drowning
of death coming for me in the night

how it lingers, tattoo

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++god placed this lightning behind my ear for a reason,

don’t worry,
++++I tell her,
there was sunlight

how it turned the water this blue-green-gold color
reminded me of church,++++++++of sunday morning,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++found home in watershed.

yellow school busses swim, salmon up asphalt rivers
++past motels that have been vacant since the sister towers fell

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++a house sits at the end of a tree lined driveway,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++cracked paint,         antebellum white

my Mother’s eyes search my sleeping body
++++++++++++watching, for the rise and fall of my chest, praying

that this summer had not taken me from her.

Greg Parker (he/him) is a black queer poet, artist, and guerilla cyclist currently based in Philadelphia, PA. His writing is born of heritage, resistance, and glamor. A senior at Temple University pursuing his BA in Visual Anthropology, he is the current Treasurer and Technical Director of Babel Poetry Collective, through which he has performed in various open mics and showcases. He has work forthcoming from Palette Poetry.

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