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Nina’s Blues by Cornelius Eady

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So much to be thankful for. To the world, for listening. For keeping friends safe. For not forgetting who needs justice. For letting people be loved. For mornings where two people can catch up on each other’s lives. To white rabbits, for all the roads we are bound to travel. For adventures. For meeting your fate halfway. To the universe, for being unknowable. For things that begin and end. For the uncertainty, and the courage to face it. For dreams.

And of course, to poetry, for being. For seeing. Listen, says Mary Oliver, are you breathing, just a little, and calling it a life?

Nina’s Blues
Cornelius Eady

Your body, hard vowels
In a soft dress, is still.

What you can’t know
is that after you died
All the black poets
In New York City
Took a deep breath,
And breathed you out;
Dark corners of small clubs,
The silence you left twitching

On the floors of the gigs
You turned your back on,
The balled-up fists of notes
Flung, angry from a keyboard.

You won’t be able to hear us
Try to etch what rose
Off your eyes, from your throat.

Out you bleed, not as sweet, or sweaty,
Through our dark fingertips.
We drum rest
We drum thank you
We drum stay.


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