Skip to content
Contact USI

All Day We’ve Been Speaking in the Dark

by Karisma Price

for my friends; Kingston, NY; 2019

and all day the bay horses graze.
We are happy.
We snore. We stain a dish
with mixed-berry marmalade.
What if I stopped here? What if we all did?
           We are all happy and snore like overworked fathers
and damaged mothers. Everything is a thick kilt
pushed over the eyes. I might be wrong when I think
all anyone anticipates is living. But are you alright?
I crave quality fruit, ache for over-buttered popcorn, porcupines
without the stick. We are all so formal in our wantings.
We whisper-walk down wooden hallways. We grow so hard
we are dying.
           We are all happy and snore into each chamber
of ourselves. The bay horses hide our dreams in the barn.
We do not grab them from their maws. Our mothers
are damaged and our fathers brew. Inheritance, a kettle
crying hamartia. The water burns honeybush. Oh, God,
how the spoons chatter. The way you shake in your sleep
when you think the train has hit you. The police will not
break the door. The windows are open. We’ll sing arrows
into them. We are the commonwealth of hooded children
in loud raincoats stealing a porch hammock. We trouble
the Gregory Pecks down the lane and bust open the chests
of neighbors’ chifforobes looking for Tom Robinson.
It is too late for us to own the mouths of our own
darkness. We can’t be free, we live here.

Karisma Price is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection I'm Always So Serious (Sarabande Books, 2023). Her work has appeared in POETRY, Four Way Review, Wildness, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and New York University, was a finalist for the 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize, and awarded The 2020 J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from The Poetry Foundation. Price is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and holds an MFA in poetry from New York University. She is currently an assistant professor of poetry at Tulane University.