All the things I’ve accumulated 

Sitting listless and unnumbered 

A red towel soaked from suds fleeing from the sink

You have to use your nails to get clean

Wash cloths aren’t enough 

Some people don’t use them 

I can’t stop to talk to you 

Clean clean splash nothing is clean 

“Miss 1 pink pill in week 1 of your pack take the first as soon as you remember 

The second at your regular time”


Awake with dread in a blue room wishing to 

Close my eyes knowing that with every passing 

Moment my mind, quenching tears creates time tombs.

Who knew that sorrow could cure happy living 

Water is healing when thinking how, or who

Gets to be, gets sleep, gets to keep succeeding. 

Loneliness feels best when striving for greatness

I wonder how I’ll sleep when there’s nothing less.

Make my bones like papier-mâché 

So that I may be whole while hollow

Create my mouth like calculator 

So that my speech may be accurate while calm

Humble my ears like honey 

So that I only see what is sweet

I’m washing dishes and already she has been hit by a drunk driver

Shot in her bed by police

Her heart fizzled out from loving too much

Many times before going to bed I’ve seen her forgetting my name

I see someone else screening my calls 

Answering with one-word messages before I finally find out the inevitable

I’m in the shower and she’s drowning

From her own blood, in a lake

My father is screaming, my sister is crying, and I’m making funeral arrangements

Trying to remember what the six primary seasonings were, 

where the red beans and rice recipe was whether or not pattern goes with pattern

I want to record our conversations so I have messages to scroll through but I keep thinking about when I get to the end of them

When no one agrees with me

Or sees my side of things

When she finally picks up I remember

I have to stop practicing for my mother’s death

When I’m sitting at my desk in the morning

Daija just died yesterday

Danielle can’t see her face in all the paint

My mother and I don’t know what to say

Each day it’s harder to wake 

While Tabs, papers, and links fill my desk

The sun is the only one who fills me in the warring

Generations of expectations and no money to shop

With your tasks there is no time for mourning

All I want is to water my plants now

When scrolling I know I would rather my pain

In all that I’ve heard I just don’t know how

To live knowing some are worth just a word       

The sky turns grey but there is no change

Answers may come with age

When my legs become the white noise crinkling from the tv in a storm

This is where my voice is 

Socotra coffee house is a sea of color

And when I order my small adeni chai I feel at home in a language I don’t understand

My heels hanging on to a metal seat frame 

Typing busy bees, the meaning of indeterminancy, and complaints of capitalism

“And when you cross this divide, you’ll get what we’ve all been denied” 

I call my mother because I’ve finally found the right line

Note from the poet:

This is the first poem in the new Written in red series, which are poems focusing on the personal, creative, and political