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An Autobiography in About 30 Lines or Less

Sea Sharp

they gutted my mama like a fish to find me
a sprouted pea-shoot reaching for the sun


i ran away when i was seven and nine clawed my way up
trees but they dragged me by the tail howling like a ghost


and i fell in love with a girl called annie i was five
and she had sunflower hands and a raspberry stain on her cheek

and i think maybe she loved me too but we lost touch
in the fourth grade and i killed my father slowly in my teens

he's still alive somewhere in oklahoma where the seagulls
won’t find him and he’s exactly where i told him to rot

and the doctors sewed my mama up as good as new
and she gets better like the wine she bathes in

and i've bled every month for about 30 years or less
putting off the melancholia this time but maybe not next

and yesterday was my birthday and to my surprise
i discovered I was a corn snake in a black woman's body

and that explained so much at the time and ain't that a bitch
and sister was a chigger-bug if you know what i mean

all bite no hiss and nasty as hell and now
i’m married to a cowardly lion from oz

i left kansas just the way i found her
dusty faced and squinting and cupping both her ears

This poem was originally published in Crab Fat Magazine,

Issue 7 (February 2016): 21.