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What Are We Not For, and The Black Umbrella
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What Are We Not For, and The Black Umbrella

What Are We Not For

but to be brokenlike the deer resting on the side of the highway,in a bed made of

its insides? Isn’t the scenealways the same—the rump and legsfrozen in one last kick?

I, too, have lost my gaze,the grip of the wheel—like the one that plowed into

the deer. Wheel, will—it’s all the same.And the ear does fail me at times,as it must have the deer

that should have listened better.Francine, on the other end of the line,tells me I’m not listening; to listen

to my body or I won’t last long. We neverlast long, do we? It all breaks—the line pulsing forward, the line pause,

the long bone of it all. After all,I am a broken animal. I am brokeredin the name of the wheel. [End Page 18]

The Black Umbrella

Left in the car, the rain caught mewithout a prayer. Faith? Whereis faith’s shelter when one is beaten

by rain, as if he is up to no good?I am up to no good. A liar,I left the umbrella

in the car. It broke. The spokespointed the blameeverywhere else. The rain is revelation,

I heard someone say once.What did I learn? I’m still a liar. There was no umbrellain the car, but it rained

something awful out. From inside,I could see out the window. It was a small window—I mean time was short.

The window was larger than I thought,big as a car. I don’t knowhow long the rain stayed in my mouth

before I swallowed it. I tried to swallow,but there was no one there. I know the windowwas the size of a car because

I crashed into it. It was rainingso bad that I couldn’t see. The umbrellawas black, good as new. Cell phone, I was reaching

for the cell phone. It’s bad this time, the voicesaid before the call went dead. I didn’t see her,the one with the black umbrella. She was crossing the road. [End Page 19]

There was a body in the road—collapsed like a broken umbrella. No, I was outsideon the ground. It was my body. The window was inside of

me. Pieces of it. I swallowed rain and blooduntil help arrived. A womanbeneath a hole full of stars hovered over me.

She called my name—or prayed? No, I couldn’t see a thing. [End Page 20]

Tommye Blount

Tommye Blount grew up in Detroit and is a graduate of Michigan State University’s advertising program. A Cave Canem fellowship recipient, he has published work in Collagist, Upstreet, Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series, and Cave Canem Anthology XII. He is currently working on two manuscripts.

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