Tricia Gates Brown
Coiled around me, helix of sleep
and dream, erasing space not you or me.
Not for fear, more reaching
for a handrail, as you held
my arm in new company, talked fast,
tap dance of manners—top hat and vanilla smile.
Okay, maybe fear. Tricks to stump
suspicion: Yes, Sir. Beautiful day, Sir.
Can I help with that, Sir?—getting on the good
side of white. I watched you serve, work, weigh
reactions to swarthy eyes and accent,
signing Father, Son, Holy Ghost like cops
stacked the deck to find you.
Will they know you broke laws to have
work matter, wanting just a house
like your dad, a bath, shed of tools, tidy
kitchen with chilies and lime? One safe thing
this side of motherland?
Tricia Gates Brown’s poems and essays have appeared in various publications including Portland Review, Oregon Humanities, and Rathalla Review. Living on a farm in Yamhill, Oregon, she writes and edits, and dotes on a four-legged menagerie. She is author of the debut novel Wren (Frederick Press, 2018).