As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Idrissa Simmonds — Poetry

Dinnertime in Suburbia

We punch in to the supper table like line workers.
elbows off the table edges, remembering to keep
our mouths shut while chewing some beast. Fermez la bouche
is all I remember from required French
but even that I learnt from Mom’s culled Kreyol –
the preposition might be wrong.
We pray silently while staring at our thumbs,
Mom leads, we know from the catch
in her throat she too does not mean the words she says
There are more crosses in our house
than bibles. It’s all in the symbols,
in the slip of liturgy from the tongue, who of us
can say His name with the most mountain
of holy as if there’s no porn beneath my brother’s bed
or half-siblings we don’t speak of. We want to pretend
the worst of us is bad grades or acne
no thing that sticks in the teeth like tough meat
deny the way each bone has a mouth and speaks.

Simmonds_headshotIdrissa Simmonds’ writing has appeared in Event, Pearls, Black Renaissance Noire, The Caribbean Writer, and elsewhere. She has led writing workshops for a range of communities through the New York Writers Coalition, and developed professional development trainings for teachers, school leaders, and creative communities. She is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from VONA, Bread Loaf, Poets House, and Hedgebrook. She curates the literary and food salon Brunch and Word from her Bed-Stuy home.

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