“November 5, 1980” by Reginald Dwayne Betts (poetry ’10)

“November 5, 1980” by Reginald Dwayne Betts (poetry ’10), published by the Boston Review.

November 5, 1980

I have called, in my wasted youth, the concrete slabs
Of prison home. Awakened to guards keeping tabs
On my breath. Bartered with every kind of madness,
The state’s mandatory minimums & my own callus.
I’ve never called a man daddy; & while sleep, twice
Wrecked cars; drank whiskey straight; nothing suffices—
I fell in love with sons I wouldn’t give my name. Once
Swam at midnight in the Atlantic’s violence,
Under the water, rattling broke the silence. I cussed
Men with fists like hambones & got beaten to dust.

[… continue reading at “November 5, 1980” at the Boston Review.]