The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2022

All Issues
SEPT 2022 Issue

Diptych: Conflict

from human/nature poems
(Litmus Press, forthcoming 2023)

There’s Always Time
    (invasion, March 2022)

Triceps, the harder muscle to tame, sinews the western gun.
Off-camera cackle rough as a lion’s tongue. Oh correct killers
— oh weeping fury. I see sun sky colors and I hang

them around me. I walked the earth’s corners, squaring myself in multitudes,
man’s miasma, yet in love with each kaleidoscopic angle,
quilted triangulate patterning.

Tulip and eye, cultivars, “I see you as one
of the hopeful. My different-hue brother, dust of domain
in your visage, furrowed brow ridge. At the edge, the radial

moment, hot sun holds in the dermis of mine own. Encapsuled, D vita
min weak, where we’ve initiated. Ever unsated, outsize force, irises glum. Here
we gold banded be. Find ourselves, cold drying bend under iron ton,

as they said we aught: “learn, teach yourselves, our better ways.” Uni, Gilead
balm, we dutifully recite cyrillic gestures, make do their dumplings, the particular
root beat stain, unifying hearts. Then the sp-sh-elling       

At the razor check, small seam of certainty. The enemy isn’t getting
out, someone sees, the day enough, within the deeps, caravans of fear rearing
bald tire huddle cries, huffing to breathe free, indistinct difference exhalating ()()

pause: to repeat, on our abattoir side, stutter, ellipses, tracks down the road,
easy to discern. Money crumbling, worth these bejeweled seconds to circle a
wrist, all the way up thin sleeves, fling us: a Mount Olympus disc,

Jesse Owen’s forward toe, into the white, white, white snow
                                                             all our cousins, our kin reign on

Griner Grounding
(Pride month, 2022)

If she were he, if she were damsely,
if we coulda watched her tone, (fine muscle flex)

her stretch, retching wife, unseen.
If not for her, long limb, bright teeth

point 3: (ungowned) ball, gone in, let go? Her upswept long-dreading. Her digits tip-
bending (our Michaelangela, space of hers, time’s ticking rim).

If she weren’t so good, so great back, gaze-straight boned
blacker lashes, her complex so, bronze enough

for US to not Seal team slip plan, in to get sis gone. Instead wade, wait…
If she wasn’t born strong, so strange for her to stand alone, stand, be out

no doubt, she’da been saved. Yes. The qweens — shout

  • “Griner Grounding” and “There’s Always Time” form a diptych that puts a lens to the struggles of Black people on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian war occurring now. While there is much going on behind the scenes that we couldn’t possibly know, and I support the righteous cause of freedom, these vulnerable Black people, from the great athlete Brittney Griner to the displaced Afro-Ukrainian students, cannot be forgotten in the fog of war. Their Blackness, again, making them vulnerable in the world.


Tracie Morris

Tracie Morris is the author of 10 books (3 forthcoming) and is a scholar and multidisciplinary artist. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa and Brooklyn, New York.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2022

All Issues