A List of Waters

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A List of Waters

by Tyree Daye
Southern Cultures, Vol. 23, No. 3: Things

“My mama’s water / is all water, I’m every river rock / inside her being smoothed over . . .”

1
The scar that flows from my aunt’s thigh
to the boulder of her swollen ankle is a map
of the Haw River,
each toe a Blue Heron.

2
My mama’s water
is all water, I’m every river rock
inside her being smoothed over.

3
The palms of my uncle’s hands
are the Deep River when he is holding a gutted trout.
Always something
is bleeding.

4
You saw her bloody
and did nothing
you Yellow Perch.

5
My uncles sinned openly
on Sunday,
fed in the daytime
a White Catfish.

6
My smallest cousin is a salamander in their father’s
Neuse River arms, legs hanging there
like Blackwater.

7
Every woman
who has ever told me to clean my face
is the Atlantic Ocean.

8
The shoreline of this beach
is also a history lesson,
these sea shells
have blood on them.

9
I dream mostly in floods.

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