“Wild Geese” from Dream Work, copyright © 1986 by Mary Oliver. Used by permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited.
My white therapist calls it my edge, I hear Angry Black Woman. She says, Strength of Willful Negative Focus. She says, Acerbic Intellectual Temperament. I copy her words onto an index card. She wants an origin story, a stranger with his hand inside me, or worse. I’m without linear narrative and cannot sate her. We perform rituals on her living room floor. I burn letters brimming with resentments, watch the paper ember in the fireplace, admit I don’t want to let this go. What if anger, my armor, is embedded in the marrow of who I am. Who can I learn to be without it? Wherever you go, there you are. She asks what I will lose if I surrender, I imagine a gutted fish, silvery skin gleaming, emptied of itself—
Copyright © 2019 by Rage Hezekiah. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 1, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.