On the darkest days
of pandemic
I avoid the rooms
with the tools I could
easily use
to kill myself.
I’ve almost certainly
witnessed a few animals
die of their own
Squirrels, insects,
a few birds.
I’m convinced
nothing on
God’s earth
only serves to
meet basic needs.
Either that or
we’ve skewed
the parameters
of basic. Of Need?

I cry for the vegetables I’ve grown and wasted.
I pour out a little liquor for the plum radish limp on the countertop.
I wilt with the black butter Simpson.
My tears pool in the craters on my neglected zucchini squash.
I sowed the seeds and cultivated the soil only to neglect the harvest.
I’m afraid I’ll do the same to my children.

I said I’d blurb your book, but I’m only smart enough to understand my own poetry.
Self loathing is a coping mechanism.
I have a phobia of confidence.
That’s not to say I don’t like myself, I do.
I just don’t think that’s anyone else’s business.



This poem is from Pangyrus’s poetry collection, What Tells You Ripeness: Black Poets on Nature, Edited by Nikki Wallschlaeger (available in our store).

Image: “Tomato alone at home” by Tobias Wrzal, licensed under under CC 2.0.

Kelsey Harris
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