The Godfinger Sweeps Away the Free Past
By Casey Rocheteau

Sweatseason was at its peak until the phone rang out
Time became a knotted rope anchored to a void
My brother ran across the yard before the drought
of our last innocence. Our youth went blue, destroyed.

My mother drove, wept salt release, blind to the road
Her anger wilted mustard seed and shook the floors
My father never told us why or how not to explode
His brother’s death a secret rust that sealed our doors.

Our uncle spent his last months lacing up new dreams
Baseball gloves and paintbrushes, new watches for each
To count time’s passing wreckage by. A shot so clean
it turned the sun to clay, went out of falcon’s reach.

We were too young to know it then, but we turned stone
that day. Each year passed brought grown grief & thicker bone.

The First Time I Was Gay
By Casey Rocheteau

was not when I wrote the poem
for Jene in the third grade because
I didn’t have a word yet for feeling
like a floorboard warped by time &
a slanted foundation.

Nor was it Sybil’s body pressing on
mine on the basement floor of her
cousin’s room.

It was Taya, who should have been
named Becky, asking loudly in French
class if I was gay. I must have looked
queer because she rephrased, insisting
that I only kissed girls.

When the teacher came in Becky sat
on the other side of the room and
never explained why she had asked.

I imagine she wanted to see
if I breathed pure lavender,
if my teeth had hardened to pearl,
if her tongue would need a passport
to travel to where mine had been.

Planet of Red
By Casey Rocheteau

Engagement is only one ring.
The finger of the asked rimmed white
as a veil. The question, your mouth.
You dreamed only of Mars.
A red which would not betray
but still leave me blue, black.

Your white life different than mine, black.
And still, you made my whole brain ring
summer salt on a twin bed. I would betray
nations to feel that again, anew. The white
lightning of our skin, singing Life on Mars
my Athabasca molten rose in your mouth.

I wanted the word cheat from your mouth
before I bruised skin black.
I dreamed only of Mars.
A distant red to bury the ring.
You want to be Saturn, white
boy? White wish cannot betray

your want to be a war god. Betray
the good electricity of your mouth.
Your red streaks on the church white.
Turn me monster black.
Eight years later, I returned the ring,
all the best to the next hand it mars.

Now I am Neptune and you, Mars.
Tempest ocean, blackgirl betray
how she wish the phone to ring
fetid sorry from your mouth.
I stayed blue, black
while every woman after, white.

Your newest love moved in, white-
faced like the Moons of Mars,
She says nigga like she is black:
casual. You see her tongue betray
the noble lie of her self righteous mouth,
say Not my business. I wish I sold the ring.

And your white sits quiet, betrays
the red Mars in your chest & mouth.

Casey Rocheteau is a Cave Canem Fellow, performs throughout the country, and has lead a variety of writing and performance workshops. She has been involved in slam poetry since 2003 including being a member of the 2012 Providence Slam Team. She’s released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record, self-published four books and her most recent book, Knocked Up On Yes was released on Sargent Press in 2012. She writes poetry to keep her head right.