Poetry

August 2021

Concerning Cousin Twyla

Her front door has no screen

By Rodney Terich Leonard

August 4, 2021

Concerning Cousin Twyla


Her front door has no screen.


She sells her moon to men.


When jittery in mittens


Whom of Harriet Tubman’s ilk,


Such a glory over everything


Assured her, mint of breath:


I am your parakeet.


Lift your head


Lofty among the bricks


Of the Springhill Projects.


Her pain is checkered.


Her pain is not strange.


Which of her gossiping aunts


Sought permission to unravel?


Raised a village mountainous


As Septima Poinsette Clark?


Each braid furthers us.


Look over here—


Toward a second-hand heart.


Breeze on my back


I’m unfit to sling the hammer.

Rodney Terich Leonard is the author of Sweetgum & Lightning (Four Way Books). His second poetry collection, Another Land of My Body, is also forthcoming with Four Way Books.