I steal letters from mailboxes
with telepathy my grandfather
handed down from his grandfather,
the prodigy, the orphan
with poor spelling: you say
that's trouble for angels
I sing in apocalypses and count the debris;
you stare into dissonance hold the word
I hide in the closets of classrooms,
elevate what's toothless, honest, and bold.
"You creep, you insignificant vine,
you rat-catcher you."
I am afraid of my mother's voice
when it cries and hurries
and hiccups and cries again.
"You are just like your father."
I wear makeup no one can see.
It stains me sometimes, the reds
collide with your blues; sometimes
it's nothing but white.
"What are you,
some kind of freak American flag?"