Christ-Child Of the Wild 100s

20 years
haunting a row house
the color of a
defaced quarter
choking down wire
basketball netting
for breakfast
with blood
brushing ash
between my fingers
after I touch
as a child
I left home
for days &
was not
I smell crack
in clouds
hazing the clear lake
dull barbecues
damp parking lots
nobody else sees
the wind in which
blood-black leaves
scatter &
at night
across silent streets
we’re free
after we fall
last night I saw
an 11 year old child
smeared across
a basketball court
mistook a lone firework
on the humid
night of the 4th of July
for buckshot
thought it was me
words get drunk
before we speak them
it’s how they cope
with us
& we cope
with them
today a cop
spat at me
his voice cracked
like boiling
my grandmother
boiled eggs
for breakfast
blue meat beneath
white flesh
like blotted
my mother
so violent
she loved me
she needed me
I was told no
kept away
by fear &
I hung up the phone
on her
sat on the couch
received a video game
black breast reflecting light
in a hospital room
color scraped
from a bombed out
wall hanging
over an empty street
in Englewood
to what other people
say to you
my daddy once
said to me
so hatefully



Noah LaBien  was born and raised in Chicago, attended Shimer College, and received his MFA from Bennington College.


poetryBarzakh Mag