two poems by Mariama Lockington

oakland, 2010

all you said was good morning, beautiful all you did
was cook me beans and rice, make love to me again

in the egg yolk light, all you wanted was
to take my hand, joy-stumble into the gasping air

walk the lake while it yawned its silver
long as the eye could see

i can’t tell you how far away i was that year
how safe it felt to prowl around

the dark town, drinking up everything
how good it felt to ram my body into the middle

of a crowded dance floor, only to come out
the other side with someone else to spin myself into

some new flesh to wrap around my bones and organs
my tricky little heart, pumping to a stranger’s rhythm

all you wanted was to keep me, but i was practicing
how not to be still, how to be furious wind

gathering speed and kelp and headlines
all you did was call me beautiful and i

could not breathe, i could not move
i could not howl and thrash the way i needed to



what table set of your bone   
what silver what flesh
dream of your throat             
what melting what flavor
cumin currant coconut

your clavicle mantle for my mandible
what wishbone split cracked and tasted
rooms and rooms of your marrow

what fullness what hands
what shoulder hip
touch this ending

never before so hungry
never before this taste
savor this mouth
opening and closing

what city lost what walls
what sky all fragments
all polished all candlelit reflection
all slow sipping and chewing
and licking of ones fingers
all drinking and swallowing
and spitting out of ones skin

a single hair caught between teeth

what feasting
each time appearing
before one another
still wanting

what delight
little girls turned plentiful
turned women
plated the two of us
picked to the bone
the very last succulence

what dance what etiquette
what world of carcassash
you and i rising
again and again to feed



MARIAMA J. LOCKINGTON calls many places home but currently lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She is published in The Comstock Review, Sparkle and Blink, Uncommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning and Living (Red Beard Press, 2013) and is a San Francisco Literary Death Match champion. Mariama performs her work around the country and teaches writing workshops for various youth organizations. She holds a masters in education from Lesley University and an MFA in poetry from San Francisco State University.