In the Negro section of Nashville

by Sheree Renee Thomas

blood rises on hot summer wind
crepe bushes, honey petals trickle past
rough solemn wood
Inside your yard, the grass smells of heat
You nudge half-awakened stones
hands caress still curves, await birth
weeds spin in the shallows
gnats erupt on quicksilver wings
float on warm shadows
chisel in hand, words are wedged between air
between breath, between blood
blow by blow, stone spirits rise and fall
softer than the curled eye of death

Here, the trees know how to wait
smell dust on wind and know rain is yet to come
You’ve grown lean, walking along
the city streets under a glassy sky
whispering to steps, crumbling curbs as you pass
stone for marrow and dust for skin

The wind sings strength
to your carving hand