Your iphone six is long-dead, lustered black and
dripping from the ink in your pocket. Like a good
Christian, you blame yourself—not the capless
Uni-Ball Jetstream, gutted and sprayed against your
right thigh, seeping like a busted vein. It hits you.
Waiting for the uptown bus, you only made it half-
way through “16 Pictures of Animals Holding Hands,”
and worse, your pen was brand new. Everything hurts,
so you cope with “nevers.” It will never draw a perfect
circle. It will never start a revolution. It will never sit
desk-topped, longing and listening as you type. It will
never want be held. If mama’s calls could get through,
she’d whisper, “God is strong, but he can’t clasp your
hands or stoop your shoulders or raise you without your
own wind. Most importantly, he can’t afford your god
damned dry-cleaning. Junior, are you listening to me?
He can’t protect you from yourself.” You think, well,
if god made those pockets, he made them no better
than baptismal fonts, waiting how Noah waited—eyes
up, wet-stretched, begging to be felt or flooded or
forgiven for holding only what could be carried: a
rusted key ring, uncounted rosary beads, bodega
receipts for rolling cigarettes, and hands. Your iphone six
just sat there, quieter than psalms, waiting with you for
the uptown bus. You think, at least you have the traffic,
the gypsy cabs and barreling busses and bike horns
all droning to a Harlem beat. You watch each set of steel
and wheels find different ways to move together,
tempting in cold stares, spaced like fingers, speeding
and stretching nerve endings for the chance to almost
halt or hold still.
Albert Thomas is a poet living San Francisco, CA. He is an alum of Yale University, where he studied Political Science and African-American literature and poetry. Albert’s poems have appeared in Rogue Agent Journal, Gravel, Podium, and Radius. He recently received a nomination for the 2016 Pushcart Prize.