N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 2
Made in Detroit
My first lessons were kisses and a hammer.
I was fed with mother’s milk and rat poison.
I learned to walk on a tightrope over a pit
where snakes’ warnings were my rattles.
The night I was born the sky burned red
over Detroit and sirens sharpened their knives.
The elms made tents of solace over grimy
streets and alley cats purred me to sleep.
I dived into books and their fables
closed over my head and hid me.
Libraries were my cathedrals. Librarians
my priests promising salvation.
I was formed by beating like a black
smith’s sword, and my edge is still
sharp enough to cut both you and me.
I sought love in dark and dusty corners
and sometimes I even found it
however briefly. Every harsh, every
tender word entered my flesh and lives
there still, bacteria inside my gut.
I suckled Detroit’s steel tits. When
I escaped to college I carried it with
me, shadow and voice, pressure
that hardened me to coal and flame.