Tina Boyer Brown

          after Toni Morrison

From 18-wheelers to coke-oven men, we rise at sunup.

We clean our faces by the light of kitchen sink curtains. To

wash, to work, to pay the sundown

costs, we give our lives a

softening — a shape and a balm.

What gifts we gather from the daily envelope — a

thoughtless coin procured by gentle

dreams and blistered hands. We touch

folded bills to hide them in shoeboxes or

blink to see them gone. When nuzzling

gives less comfort than tightening of

fists, we remember home and what she left of

our buttons, tins, and feathers. A welcoming sort.

From Song of Solomon. “ ... from sunup to sundown: a balm, a gentle touch or nuzzling of some sort.” Page 13.


about the author