Black Oak (& other poems)

by Michele Gilliam

Black oak gathers en masse
Its overcast powerful

I have surrendered to silence
Leaves became moors,
Float like feathers
Until their final demise.

Together we idle
With the surrounding life
And the coarseness of the ground
Prickles. Hints of blood
Secrete my skin

I still have life.



breath consumes
then emits
air that tints in its release
the smoke evaporating like
cloud smoke in the air
hollow like the insides of
rusted pipes
I smell the angst of the City
We both exhale.


Daddy, Thank You, Always

at first
too fragile
your prayers sustained
my lay still
enveloped in hands
that followed
the tremor
of the tambourines
ringing the glory of
my arrival

then my survival,
now precarious

my heart pierced
pulsating with
too rapid staccato

the miracle now met
with pity
orchestrated by
the wary of chances
and statistics
and spit up
as constant as your worry
unsatiated, I lay

I continued to wilt
you instead confronted
the imminent
exposed promise
eyes illuminated, wandering
as the rest of me idled

your hands now stiffened
too coarse from
and men’s work
now prepared to cradle an existence
too delicate
shielding the prognosis
life as a challenge
one that