Mikal tells me i need forgiveness & here’s the door
back to all love we walk away from how

the dirt teleprompters the rain
fall back to its skies to better our soil here’s

everybody i ever loved
& here’s           me holding onto me

watch: no one at my helms    no one
somersaulting giddy against my pelt

i’m every black body i ever was
tell them something of me could not be loved

& was loved, that’s where i landed
whenever i aimed for honest

i’m on my way, i’m on my way, i’m on my way,
the darkness i helped i folded in my pocket for this

joyed to be gone with her     that new mother
i’ll be torn from   might have been my own blood

mother. all along. bless my ancestral name driving
back to scoop the fam, chosen demigods   we once

too called baby, the only proof we have that love
happens   here too young to have happened.

i’m dexterous this time enough to love again
& here’s better lovers than me   i bare a thing

& will bare something anything else   there will be
mythos    ahistorical hysteria pigmenting patterns

from which i back flip, thick as a black bone: bone’s
blackness: self to be rattling the omnitemporal   self


Trace Howard DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books, 2018), which was a finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Prize. He served as the editor of Scholastic’s Best Teen Writing of 2017 & as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on screen and radio—BET Next Level, Billboard, Blavity, Poetry Foundation, Ours Poetica, and NPR’s The Takeaway—and in print— SAND Journal, Entropy Magazine, Platypus Press, Split This Rock, The Poetry Project, & Bettering American Poetry (Volume 3). DePass is a Poetry Incubator, Teaching Artist Project, & Poets House Fellow.

IG: @tracedepass
Twitter: @southsidepoems

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