“the earth is a living thing” ~ Miss Lucille Clifton
language is a living thing little symbols words and syntax breathe the dawn shape of its body. as we speak and read and listen and write it it moves. colorful etymologies praise ancestors accents inflections-- conversions in conversation. utterance plays essence figures and frames its sprouting possibilities withers useless branches claims futures.
Cough This broken glass so bright in me I wheeze, I breathe, I bleed, look down at the sink colors and gleam
in the drain. Life together with death gifts us miracles. Somehow, still here. The apartment at night shook
until we found one morning, still until I teetered with support beams, wood in sounds around us creaks gravity--
pressure clutters my skull, but what hangs, what balances sharp from the end of the plumb
line held vertical and air enough in me, these feather lungs, this life, to make blood new, keep going.
-- Aaron Coleman is the author of Red Wilderness (Four Way Books, forthcoming 2025), Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, 2018) winner of the GLCA New Writers Award, and St. Trigger (Button, 2016), selected by Adrian Matejka for the Button Poetry Prize. He is the translator of Nicolás Guillén’s The Great Zoo [El gran zoo] forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press Phoenix Poet Series in 2024. Coleman has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem, the Fulbright Program, and the American Literary Translators Association. His poems and essays have appeared in publications including Boston Review, Callaloo, The New York Times, Poetry Society of America, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series. Aaron is currently the Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Translation Studies at the University of Michigan and will join the faculty as Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature in fall of 2024.