Poet of the Week: Teri Cross Davis

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Fade to Black

Only now can pixels completely capture
the mulatto ancestors born in Virginia,
the freedmen of Georgia, the sharecroppers
in Lafayette County, Arkansas, the winters
yellowing successive generations in Cleveland.
Only now does the camera rhapsodize
over the freckles, pale blossoms
continuing their spread, like seeds,
every year, each crop more noticeable
than the last. The lens focuses
on the pores’ gentle sag as the skin
ushers in the fourth decade; the areola’s
circular spill, nursing’s bulls-eye;
the faded ripples, broadening streaks
on the abdomen and thighs, smooth
reminders from their stretching boast
twice taut, now slack; the adolescent scars
on the left inside wrist-the only physical
reminder of a parents’ divorce; the darker
brown and black moles— little peppered
volcanoes once seen on Big Ma’s face—
now popping up, more each year. A closer
angle spotlights the spiral curl of the hair,
a decade free of chemicals, softer now,
assertive, tangled in reflection. Finally,
the close-up— a mirror, and I am discovering
how slow love is, even slower acceptance,
but traveling down the road I was born to know.

From “Haint” Copyright 2016 by Teri Ellen Cross Davis. Printed by permission of Gival Press.

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