Childhood Friends                                                                  by James Diaz

We are the measure and the measured
Time, I'm saying
We waste and want more
In that aching that is ours to plow through
No one says whole
No one says time
Heals and if they do,
If they do:
Necessary lies
 
My father built houses all his life
For others to call a home
While we froze in winter
Wandered fields behind the section 8
Complex
Taught each other the long game of body burning
Brighter than future's not ours
 
Boys who died from too much
Or not enough
Girls who birthed their fathers
And braided ladders in their mind
To the moon
 
These ungodly creatures
From whom time took
Everything in sight
 
But in the barn one night Clara pointed
To the sky and said "just like that,
It's how I want to be,"
Never mind that everyone broke us
Never mind the light that fell
Across us scattered birds
Like everything else
Just out of reach
 
Because I remember holy was
Holy were
Don't ever think we came here wasted
Time,
We came here hungry
We ate the night
We were beautiful
We wanted more
We were at the altar
But never on our knees
 
Circling the barn
We talked our futures bigger than possible
We talked our lives with our mouths on fire
We kept each other warm
Kept each other circling
Higher and higher
The freeway humming
Hope:
We ate the damn thing whole.

James Diaz (They/Them) is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018), All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha, 2021), and the forthcoming Motel Prayers (Alien Buddha, 2022). Founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic, their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Thrush Poetry Journal, Corporeal, The Madrigal, Wrongdoing Magazine, The Lumiere Review, Resurrection mag, and Apricity. They reside in upstate New York. 

Guest Editor Latorial Faison has authored 15 books, including Mother to Son and the trilogy collection, 28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History. A graduate of UVA and VA TECH, she recently, completed doctoral studies at Virginia State University and published The Missed Education of the Negro: An Examination of the Black Segregated Education Experience in Southampton County. This Furious Flower Poetry Center fellow, Pushcart nominee, and Tom Howard Poetry Prize winner has been published in Artemis Journal, West Trestle Review, Obsidian: Literature and Art in the African Diaspora, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, and elsewhere. Forthcoming work, Mama Was a Negro Spiritual, was a semi-finalist for The CAVE CANEM POETRY PRIZE. Faison is married, has three sons, and teaches at Virginia State University.

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