Poems: Dawn Robinson

Illo for Dawn Robinson's poems.

a magical upbringing

I turned into money, once
I left my skin for a while behind the bank
it felt good to turn into money and be passed by the hands of people
who could not buy better health to people who had lost everything

when the busiest section of town got closed off for a cultural event
I hung mumly as four plantains

a tiny boy who had no idea what snakes actually felt like stood under me, his mind
preoccupied with zombies, anacondas and French high-heels in
the department store window
I knew this because I once thought I was a boy and tried to dress
like one yet I hadn’t the build to sustain any turf wars
I hadn’t a moustache, the one I drew on fled my face with a flock
of wrens who laughed, tried it on
among gargoyles at the old church tower

with my yellow arms I reached down to the boy he called me mother.
I carried him in my yellow arms and said yes I must be your mother.

and not a bundle of plantains nor an old skin behind the bank

we went away
together, grew up a well adjusted boy

foster care

her vagina blazing in the black night she called a string of names after me
none of which I remembered having been just born a telephone line ran
between us
the headset she wore was futuristic the switchboard for messages
required names. My names traveled earnestly down the wire until they became curses
they were sure-footed
and ate scraps from the street garbage
once they were embroidered on a light green sweater

files were made for these names later, specialists in the field of
the given file had access to the names called out that night, passed down the wire
once a lady with red hair came from the social services department and she knew
my real name and she told it to two round, brown sweet smelling people
who put my name in their garden, a rose grew
Dawn Robinson hopes to be a better person each day, in California to start with.

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