Cortney Lamar Charleston

Not a moment after lightning shears the black
cloth above us in two, something comes exposed:
a curving backbone I skim with a touch like silk,
sweet intentioned. From the opening – a fissure
of white light – I pull a phantom made of thunder
with my teeth, then pass it through your lips. From
then on, everything within your name jostles into
music when any person mentions the slightest
chance of rain; you become an umbrella, opened
and turned upside down. If not that, a key knotted
to a kite tail: a kind of yearn. I brought this on by
some voodoo, but there are happenings I would
never call on with my charms; I would never, say,
play notes of a rain song in reverse, or wish for
Southern California for you and me, not in these
parched times. Without the water between us we
bond at the molecule, we would die. We would thin
to air or less than nothing, multiplied by silence.  


Cortney Lamar Charleston is a Cave Canem fellow and Pushcart Prize nominated poet living in Jersey City, NJ. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action, Eleven Eleven, Folio, Juked, The Normal School, pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Rattle, Winter Tangerine Review and elsewhere.