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  • A Blues and: Dark Milk: After Basquiat’s Painting
  • Tiffany Austin (bio)

A Blues

There is a South in sound. Pear-shaped sounds. Inside—skinned rose flesh. Hard mattresses. Gussing up to a yard full of opened graves. Familiar dust. Moored to rosebud —all in the body. Only scar that remains is leaning. Coltrane’s sheets. Otis rubybreasted. Burlap thighs sitting on water, where houses also sit. Color turned inner when I was called outside my name, there in the delta. Between sediment of embrace, breaking and I want to give my mother a child that weighs like my father. Love mask, river chipped. Wafted with back. Dry salt cut. Reminds me of a smell you can’t catch. Honey sun. Memory is near here. Bodies want to be wearable a friend tells me and that little boys’ bodies in homes are being sent out to make sure there is no sound after the bullets have fallen. Raw livers. Familiar dust. A long lap of women at a funeral, they tell me I am not a woman who will have a hard life. They don’t know. I hope I can forget. Long and squat necks. Honea Path.* Cleve. Cusped.

Dark Milk: After Basquiat’s Painting

Someone else’s fertile heart— outside—this ache, a bird borrowing its own milky seed.

A woman died yesterday liver of honeysuckle

innerneath rub of hot, amongst hemp indigoing youngbloods

alone in this with other feed. Before death, moments of lust filled dying.

Who says beauty is here somewhere when where do you come from means

you don’t belong here or let out your cigarette (I’d wake my father by putting a lit one in his mouth.).

Beauty can be destroyed by the wind— the back of the ocean [End Page 389]

or lip. I don’t feel safe in the world any longer.

Some days I’d like to be Billie on a Wednesday, Alison Krauss’s throat, Amantine’s pants:

A house fell on her heart.

Taste  humming sect  my own Iona. I’ll heal this tit. [End Page 390]

Tiffany Austin

Tiffany Austin received her B.A. in English from Spelman College, MFA in creative writing from Chicago State University, J.D. from Northeastern, and Ph.D. in English from Saint Louis University. Austin previously received a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and most recently was awarded an artist fellowship grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. She currently teaches rhetorical and creative writing at the College of the Bahamas.


* A site of a hanging in South Carolina.



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pp. 389-390
Launched on MUSE
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