Hole in One
(for Soweto)
By Truth Thomas

Punches through phone books hurt less than this.
Had I known the hurt my mother hid under

goodbye hugs—her feathers—I would not have
flown so quickly from her incubating arms. But

such lessons only come once little ones have long
since answered breezes. It’s my turn now to smile,

hide, swell. In this place where lullabies once
fluttered, silence perches, tears peck the bottom

of the nest. Now that you are gone, there are grown-
up birds listless as earthworms dried up in the sun.

We Too, The Foundation
(after C.K. Williams)
By Truth Thomas

Watch me, I’m running too, dancing air, your neighbor
from down the hall, of ballet, baile, moonwalk, waltzes,
of samba, and shim sham, breaking, merengue, of salsa
spinning arcs. The building we used to live in is now

the wreck of wrecking balls, a high-rise felled to stones
bereft of pride—fragments—concrete bones of apartments
forever detached from their leases, and I am jumping with
you, from slab to slab of this shattered mass, about this

mess of unknown known. If you look closely at the rubble,
all the world appears. Here, for example, is Martin, resting
next to Malcolm, praying in a bookcase, lying prostate after
the fall. And this old clock, almost hidden under heaps

of old drywall? Ellison, and Hughes, and blues still ticking
in my body, ringing in my mind. Yes, Aristotle, but also,
Egyptians, and pyramids before him. Yes, Bibles, but also,
the Qur’an, and the Talmud, and every “ism” mixing in this

field of deconstructed cement. See, this slender fixture is
Ghandi, and Dickinson is this window frame, and that unbent
girder is Dubois (who once dueled with Hamlet for possession
of my hands, as the radiator looked on hissing in disbelief).

Watch me again—watch all of us—because I am not alone in
hurdling here—in air-filled arabesques. I am flying over this
dust bowl cathedral with my poet peeps, our Hammon and
Wheatley (written by themselves), our Dunbar, floating above

this tangled tumble of disemboweled abodes, our McKay, and
certainly, Whitman and Coleridge, here with you, twirling over
breadth of deescalated steps, but also, our Neruda and Ginsberg,
dancing the horah over integrated artifacts, with our Brooks

and Baraka, our Giovanni and Madhubuti, our Jordan, Angelou,
Sanchez, Dove, our Funky Cold Medina, and Li Young Lee, our
Hayden—survivor of warcrazed eyes—and Miller, finding color
everywhere when dwellings dive to earth. But enough of lists,

for all is vanity. What meanings we are made of exist on
every floor. When demolition teams bring swings, hockey
pucks and basketballs, violins and congas, paper plates and
china, are counted all the same. Every landfill knows this,

as do their bulldozer cousins. Watch me, watch all of us again,
dance on graves of cages—my poets—our poets, who have been
here all along. None of them mourn this death of subdivisions.
All spit in ruins of the kitchen where you once sent me to dine.

Truth Thomas is a singer, songwriter and poet, born in Knoxville, Tennessee, raised in Washington, DC. He studied creative writing at Howard University under Dr. Tony Medina, before earning his MFA in Poetry at New England College. He is formerly writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literary Society in Maryland. He is the author of three collections of poetry: Party of Black (Flipped Eye/Mouthmark Press, 2006), A Day of Presence (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2008) and Bottle of Life (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2010). He serves on editorial boards of both the Tidal Basin Review and the Little Patuxent Review. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni).