a cleaving

Brittny Crowell

today i make my tea

with the vanilla soy milk you left

it clouds the cup

like the birth of a star

embraced in porcelain,

like the dissipating

breath a drop of blood

makes in clear water

when you come to me

you leave things—

a tapestry of well meaning

stains in the shape

of recognizable things

woman who left her blood

in my bed as a goodbye

like a note in a rocking chair

take yourself with you—

leave no trails like a slug

i carry the scent of you

on my hands for days

like the frame of a dying

cherry tree or arthritic claw

struggling to make a fist

to pound your healthy skeletons

to ash and powder

you are the word caught sideways

in the tender pink of my throat—

a baby plunked in the neighbor’s

drinking well like a coin—

my breast weeping milk as i walk away

Brittny Ray Crowell is a native of Texarkana, TX. She received a BA in English from Spelman College followed by an MA in English from Texas A&M-Texarkana. Her work focuses on the hidden mythologies, dreams, traumas, and sensualities of the black contemporary South. She recently received the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry and her work has been published in the anthology Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Personal Narratives. Her current poetry manuscript, Haint, explores the black oikos in the wake of trauma. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston.

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