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Featured Poem

Peter Nolan

10-Minute Prayer

uppity in God’s chest
a place where nobody stands in line for love
I can be on the fabulous end of a sister’s eloquence
reward is stamina to celebrate
& our choice of theme music
exhaled from guitars
cooking with friction of our flirtation

floating in God’s chest
a place solid as a 10-minute prayer
soothing as knowledge of water beneath land
calming me at the news my daughter enjoyed her first sex
our reward is stamina to celebrate
& our choice of daring
laughed from chants filling days & nights without suspicion

I ain’t being a man right now
an embryo in God’s chest
my chromosomes are unnecessary
in a place where I am not a prisoner
my son is my mother
my daughter is my father
each moment a universe
wisdom burns on candles of sound

ember in bassinette
invisible shrine for an urban pilgrim
my, like, you know, mumbling understood
cycles unfold smooth as shifting yoga postures

ember is stamina in my chest

a place where no child stands in line for love
& fabulous recipes of survival
are rewards at the receiving end of please     thank you     sho you right

From Bless the Ashes; reprinted with permission of Peter J. Harris and Tia Chucha Press, A Project of Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural, Inc. ( by Northwestern University Press

Peter J. Harris is the author of Bless the Ashes, poetry forthcoming from Tia Chucha Press, and The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My 'Unalienable Right,' a book of personal essays.

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