The “C” of Tommy’s
Abecedary, Had He Lived, Not Shot Dead At Fourteen

cusp n. on the verge of, as when laying agleam in off-
white rumpled sheets / frayed borders / in dawn light
/ no one word laying claim to the world / acrest, ready
to unfurl / overflow like the rollercoaster / where time
stilled / at the top fell quiet / at the top / the forever
of seconds, two maybe three / heart-stopped high / so
hushed / how are you so beautiful / before rush of blood
and noise / before tissue plummeting back into the full-
ness of here / I am / here is my body next to yours / you
sing / agleam and laughing / oh beautiful femurs / all
the goodness of this / dusk this life / take it furl it in to /
our lungs our hearts our open mouths / the claret force
of your tongue insisting / me insisting life / let it be long
remember / us / as you straddle the cusp / look down at
me, watching / you like the moon, lit / whisper in to me
/ wait tommy wait / I’m coming.

First Prize in Poetry
2020 Stubborn Writers Contest

Maurya Kerr is a bay area-based writer, educator, and artist. Much of her artistic work, across disciplines, is focused toward Black and brown people reclaiming their birthright to wonderment. A recent Pushcart prize nominee, her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blue River Review, River Heron Review, Inverted Syntax, Oyster River Pages, and The Future of Black: A Black Comics and Afrofuturism Anthology (2022).