Do-rag

By Phillip B. Williams b. 1986
O darling, the moon did not disrobe you.
You fell asleep that way, nude
and capsized by our wine, our Bump

‘n’ Grind shenanigans. Blame it
on whatever you like; my bed welcomes
whomever you decide to be: thug-

mistress, poinsettia, John Doe
in the alcove of my dreams. You
can quote verbatim an entire album

of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
with your ass in the air. There’s nothing
wrong with that. They mince syllables

as you call me yours. You don’t
like me but still invite me to your home
when your homies aren’t near

enough to hear us crash into each other
like hours. Some men have killed
their lovers because they loved them

so much in secret that the secret kept
coming out: wife gouging her husband
with suspicion, churches sneering

when an usher enters. Never mind that.
The sickle moon turns the sky into
a man’s mouth slapped sideways

to keep him from spilling what no one would
understand: you call me God when it
gets good though I do not exist to you

outside this room. Be yourself or no one else
here. Your do-rag is camouflage-patterned
and stuffed into my mouth.

Source: Poetry (November 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2013
 Phillip B. Williams

Biography

Phillip B. Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc., 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2013). Williams is a Cave Canem graduate and the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Kenyon Review Online, The Southern Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, West Branch, Blackbird and others. Williams is currently a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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