A poem from Jericho Brown's brand new collection The New Testament, a meditation on race, sexuality and contemporary American society.
Once, long ago, in a land I cannot name,
My lover and my brother both knocked
At my door like wind in an early winter.
I turned the heat high and poured coffee
Blacker than their hands which shivered
As we sat in silence so thin I had to hum.
They drank with a speed that must have
Burned their tongues one hot cup then
Another like two bitter friends who only
Wished to be warm again like two worn
Copies of a holy book bound by words to keep
Watch over my life in the cold and never ever sleep.