o gold gate of my grandpa’s holler
o sweet midus touch of his blues hum
o honey metal which framed his prayers
o crowns that crowned his crowns
made him king when he smiled
made even his vomit expensive
o gangster grill before gangsta grillz
marked my granddaddy OG of the gin
sermon and front porch tabernacle
made everything he said sound like
gold rimmed bible, or gold rimmed tires
gangsta white walls, TV antennas
cross the back of your legs talk smart
even his punishments sparkled
o gold teeth, when i was young i thought
your mustard gleam meant my papa
was a kind of hero, alien, god
so confused on how he hid
all the suns so near his tongue
without turning to embers
how his mouth held the day hostage
but didn’t swallow it. o butter glow
country tiara, ghetto kingdom of
molars, glinting hallelujah with
pork stuck near the black gums
forgive me, forgive me citizens
of my papa’s death mouth
I stole you from behind his cold
lips at the funeral, I knew you were
not teeth but seeds. forgive me
I planted you behind the house
between the collards and the hull peas
I water you with daily brandy & pray
for rain. I know with enough
belief a boy will sprout from dirt
with his 24 karat skin, his whole
body like 1 gold tooth, his body
a yellow song, unbreakable,
worthy & rich. & I will raise him right.

Read more great poetry from Brooklyn Magazine print edition here.  

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