A SONG FOR DESIRE
Before the knowledge of pain, man heard the call of sugar.
Skin of innocence shed, Eve built an altar to sugar.
I plant one thing of beauty in my garden, no nightshades,
a stone path to a tree that explodes, in spring, with sugar.
Johnny Appleseed was a capitalist, not a saint.
His ministry modest: quick cheap high, land, and sugar.
The rich cousins out East had lakeside homes and horses.
Us? Endless summer and a tide-chasing mutt named Sugar.
Shacked up two weeks, the Northridge quake jolted us from bed.
We hid in the pantry beneath burlap sacks of rice and sugar.
Tea Cake took her from wealth to the swamp. She learned the weight
of machete and making love in in fields of sugar.
Returning home with no man, no money, said, “Go on, talk.
I been to the horizon, seen God, he poured tea with sugar.”
My daughter mastered French macarons the year she came out.
“Be kind,” she whispers, dusting each with rainbows and sugar.
I say, pointing to a photograph, cancer stole my beauty
and erase the origin of my scars (shame, not sugar).
The night Toni Morrison died, I awoke tethered
to the sting of needles dredging my blood, dense with sugar.
Malady of being half girl, half stone. From the waist down –
womb gone cold, pancreas confused what to make of sugar.
In the end, Tzynya, we are all made whole in Heaven.
But on earth, you know, these Black bodies ferment to sugar.
Tzynya Pinchback is author of How to Make Pink Confetti (Dancing Girl Press, 2012) with recent work in Deaf Poets Society, Lily Poetry Review, Naugatuck River Review, and Raising Mothers. She was finalist for 2020 Plymouth (MA) Poet Laureate and is a 2022 Writing the Land poet. Tzynya blogs at tzynyapinchback.com.