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If life is as short as our ancestors insist it is, I've already wasted most of mine after Hanif Abdurraqib


worried my way through each day like it’s something to endure.
I worry these words between my teeth like grit. Suck the truth like marrow.

Gnaw on the past like a bone ready to splinter.
My grandmother’s voice warbles through memory, I’ve forgotten more than I ever knew.

My father’s voice like sandpaper against the grain, I brought you into this world
and I can take you back out.
My mother’s off-tune cooing before bed, Hush now baby

baby don’t you cry, Mama's gonna sing you a lullaby. My mother’s idea of a lullaby
was Pink Floyd. It’s no wonder we turned out the way we did.

My brother was named for Led Zeppelin's drummer but gifted
none of the talent. Left in prison quarantine to ride out the withdrawals, leaving the drinking

to me. So my answer to the question, What good Dad Rock is there? fits into this poem
somewhere. I just haven’t found where. I meant to say it was good on my mother’s tongue,

much as she twisted it— and rattling the speakers of my father’s Mustang, thumping
through the walls of his crack house. I couldn’t define it but I’d know it when I hear it. I’d know it

from the grease stains, the cut-up t-shirt I have from Baltimore, from sparks
seen behind the welding mask. I meant to say it’s part of me—

it shows up on my Spotify no matter how far I stray. And here I’ve found my stride
in the lifeblood of music just before my time is up. When I haven’t heard a song

outside of end credits in a month. I haven’t felt the rhythm in my hips
since before the new year. When I haven’t drunk myself sick chasing a song through the dark.

It’s been three days since my father’s birthday and six years since we’ve spoken
and I still haven’t forgiven him for naming me after my mother or missing my birth

for being behind bars. It’s been two days since my brother’s last visit and nearly twenty four hours
since I knew which facility housed him and I still haven’t forgiven him for making me save him

or naming me his sister, as much the woman to him as our mother is.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in FOLIO, Figure 1, The Offing, and Harpur Palate, among others. their portfolio can be found at
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