Taking Sam Cornish for Meatloaf Near Park Street Stop

poetry 0
Afaa M. Weaver


In a breath that slips through a tiny door inside the leaves,
we talk about the necessity of gravy, as if it’s the vote for higher
minimum wage for the long nights of tallying up receipts
in the lost sums of a Nigerian coffee shop in the North End,
or what we assume we can assume now, or even back then,
in the lost time of one hundred steps ago, and I say, or I think
I say, as I cannot hear myself in all the silence of this city,
turning to keep you from falling, “Sam, even if your last name
is the same as a hen, you have no right to change subjects
without warning.” I was weaving the philosophy of Elmer Fudd
and the Silly Rabbit, when all of a sudden you are somewhere
inside The Searchers, and where the hell is the screen, I sigh
out loud enough to wake the sleeping ghosts of people no one
can see or assume ever lived. This is what friendship comes to
at last, the summary of assumptions, just like I said it would,
damn it, and I hate when Sam does not hear me, or cannot hear

up where a thunderhead would be gold and greatly engraved
in the air above Charleston, where money as old as the mistakes
it made keeps sentinel at the doors to rooms where the n-word
is some kind of ritual. Five minutes and you say nothing, me down
here wondering how difficult it must have been for you to decide
once and for all, to fly away, as much as you love meatloaf, ten
minutes and then out of this Bostonian air so ethereal you need
to import your oxygen, you yawn through the thick nearly blind
eyeglasses of clouds to say, “Damn it, Mike, do you have to make
every stupid thing about race, and where in the hell is the gravy?”

Afaa M. Weaver has been awarded the St. Botolph Club 57th Distinguished Artist Award. His recent book is Spirit Boxing (U. Pitt, 2017).