I wish we’d all been ready

for the engine dying, the final road trip, the return to God once
we could no longer sustain ourselves, for the faith that was made out of
our hunger, the basement freezer where the body of the dead guinea
pig was kept, the dog’s tumor, which was benign, but still felt a little
too familiar, for the Newport ashes planted along with my Ma’s
petunias, the soot-stained forsythia bush on the back porch, the rose
bush that Jaquille dove into because of a dare, nothing more, he rose
with thorns stabbed through his skull, his blonde hair darkened by the trickle of blood
that oozed from him hot like a geyser, which don’t really ooze I’ve been told,
they shoot, they spit, they gnash like my Dad’s Ma when pretending to have teeth,
they propel, they send forth how the prophets were sent forth to do God’s work,
though Jaquille was no prophet, and he never mentioned anything of
the divine, he just stood straight up in the middle of that bush, plucked those
thorns from his head, put them in my palm, then collected what he was owed


Sonata in E-Minor

Nothing gold can stay, except the dog’s pee on my sheet music, which I
copied from an heirloom of a book my piano teacher let me
borrow, Tchaikovsky or Chopin perhaps, maybe Grieg, she was
Russian and Orthodox and cooked mayonnaise with her grandson, she wore
an auburn wig and never let you see her wrists, her father would sit
in his chair still as a corpse until you’d finished playing, then he’d speak
Russian, knowing you knew no Russian, to tell you your staccatos weren’t
sharp enough and your fortes weren’t even loud enough to wake the dog
which laid at his feet, not the dog that peed on my sheet music, this was
a big dog, named Silver like the medal my Dad’s high school basketball
team won for losing to Roy Marble in the championship, this dog
was a serious dog, the type to chase the mailman in a cartoon,
this dog didn’t watch cartoons, only Cops and Jeopardy like my Paw
would while a roach moseyed behind him to the tune of the show’s theme song


Justin Danzy is originally from Southfield, Michigan and currently lives in St. Louis, MO. He holds a bachelor's degree in English and African studies.