Aubade (Origins of the Blues)

& the boys wake just before morning
does, stitch themselves into new skins.
new boys. same rotten pain their fathers died
from. yesterday they were green
but today they’re tough now, puffed-out
chests & arms so wide you’d think
they were made for holding. all the twilight
in the world is kept between their teeth,
all bone & black & blue like someone’s
minor god. bring me fire & see what
I make of it.
onscreen, a white woman knifes open
a chair to coils of hair. gasoline
petaled in the waterways. the dead buried
in unsteady ground. mama says do you know
where you come from?
a boy muscles a coin through the knot
of his arm, & where the flesh purples,
the wound begins to sing.

CLAIRE PINKSTON is a biracial Black youth poet and writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has previously been recognized by the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers and is published or forthcoming in Diode Poetry Journal,Lumiere Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and The Hellebore, among others. She is the winner of the 2023 Miracle Monocle Award for Young Black Writers and the recipient of a cash prize and a letterpress broadside (pictured above) of her winning poem, courtesy of Hot Brown Press