I have my grandfather's 10-year-old, wet
feet, from swimming the Mississippi night
swamps with water moccasins.
I have my sister's tears she can't
cry, in my pocket. I have my grandmother's
ingrown howl at my grandfather's
death. I have my other
grandmother's flannel shirt,
smothering me with love.
I have my brother's fiddle in my
ear. I have my other brother's bear
hug in my other pocket. I have my
youngest brother's verbal rhythms
in my other ear. My cousins. My aunts.
My uncles. I have my niece's hand-drawn self
portrait in my breast pocket, her tender
heart next to mine. I have the clippings
of my nephew's angelic hair in one hand
and my other nephews' same in the other.
I have my eldest niece's trepidation behind
How the pain of living thins
a heart wiry strong with hope, yes, hope.
I have my wife's laugh, laugh of hope.