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Self-Portrait Where I Am the Cricket

— Willie Kinard III

The way my legs sit, slightly curved around the knees,
old women squint their eyes yet still ask me if I’m single.

The summer night bows to the flutter of my lashes
& I know this is only about my walk.

I suppose they are for music-making​, I tell them,
leveraging only the floor for balance.

There is nothing to brag about, it is true:
I have drawn thunder out of a woman.

I have never broken a heart on purpose
and not felt the shatter of it in my hips.

My hips often announce my presence before I do.
I wear ankle weights to not hop in new grasses.

I have made my bed in a thicket of grass blades.
A boy plucked a chirp from me as if I were a grass blade.

My own name is a field of chirping.
My own name is a church of fields.

I listen for it when I put a man on his back.
A man on his back is a call & response.

My own name is a choir of churches.
My own name is a chorus of strumming.

My mother once picked my name to mean God’s gift.
Some nights, it is the only refrain I care sung.


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