Colored Suicide
Michael Tugendhat

Mother shouted to stuff my negro skin
back in,

her hotbox now heavy from the passing heat
of childbirth.

"This is not my child," she screamed, neck craned
toward the never.

The hiss of the nurse growing old in the grey lichen
of mother's hair.

What will the name be, the name,
what will it be?

The mother was asleep in afterbirth,
her umbilical cord

raised as braille across the child's neck
in long links of pale tubing,

the knotted rope she would soon dangle down
against the bath tile,herself

blue against his black eyes, barely
able to pretend any longer.

She tells her boy, as raw skin rubs in amputation,
that he's an orphan

and only orphan boys are black,
only black boys can be orphans.

Her hands purple in weightless pain,
a bath that overflowed hours ago

in the gone of her blue eyes,
it goes,just goes.