Black code (or, stop telling all our business)
you can tell who has lights
by the tag on their meter.
like all signals this kind of shame
is barely visible unless you know
what to look for
like garbage bags full of clothes
come home with only certain kinds
of kids or under herbie lids.
both of course meaning your father
never stayed long
we learned the power of secrets
was not in keeping them hidden.
but keeping them from poisoning
your hope in religion or thanksgivings
designed more for assimilation than
communion means you weren’t baptized
and so it doesn’t matter. anyway
let us call this dirt poor
because all things start somewhere
so imagine my grandmothers and grandfathers
in houses that never cooled. an iridescent glow
overflowing from the laughter of conversations
warmed by the smell and taste and feel
of a family love that however distant never dims.
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Some really power lines and concepts in this poem. Very well done.