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National African American History Month, Day 28: Venus’-flytraps by Yusef Komunyakaa

by on February 28, 2013

I am five,

Wading out into deep

Sunny grass,

Unmindful of snakes
& yellowjackets, out

To the yellow flowers

Quivering in sluggish heat.
Don’t mess with me

‘Cause I have my Lone Ranger

Six-shooter. I can hurt
You with questions

Like silver bullets.

The tall flowers in my dreams are
Big as the First State Bank,

& they eat all the people

Except the ones I love.
They have women’s names,

With mouths like where

Babies come from. I a five.
I’ll dance for you

If you close your eyes. No

Peeping through your fingers.
I don’t supposed to be

This close to the tracks.

One afternoon I saw
What a train did to a cow.

Sometimes I stand so close

I can see the eyes
Of men hiding in boxcars.

Sometimes they wave

& holler for me to get back. I laugh
When trains make the dogs

Howl. Their ears hurt.

I also know bees
Can’t live without flowers.

I wonder why Daddy

Calls Mama honey.
All the bees in the world

Live in little white houses

Except the ones in these flowers.
All sticky & sweet inside.

I wonder what death tastes like.

Sometimes I toss the butterflies
Back into the air.

I wish I knew why

The music in my head
Makes me scared.

But I know things

I don’t supposed to know.
I could start walking

& never stop.

These yellow flowers
Go on forever.

Almost to Detroit.

Almost to the sea.
My mama says I’m a mistake.

That I made her a bad girl.

My playhouse is underneath
Our house, & I hear people

Telling each other secrets.

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