Chanice Hughes-Greenberg

good to me as I am to you

Dear Eunice,

Aretha is playing & singing Thank the lord & that is how I want to start this letter to you.
Thank the lord I was put in your path. Thank him for this sloping basement ceiling, thank
him for the leaves left in the front yard. I can say it again. We both know devotion is not a
word used lightly but I write it here. I can hear you over Aretha’s band, moving about the
kitchen, living room. Each step sounds like you, sounds like a comfort. Made by a body I
sleep & pray beside. I’ve made mistakes. Only after can we see the mess we made, see the
lesson to learn. The floorboards carry your answer. I know. & then again. I know. I write
this because weight is carried both ways. What I mean is: I carry you. The sound of you
moving further away causes a reaction. A need for you. Thank the lord for you. & the band
comes in again.

same ol’ mistakes

break into bloom, violent yet the petals cover the street
the bloom I carry home to dry, a better death here than on the slick subway steps

a tree let loose two to three months ago when nothing grew &
now I see we weren’t either, just bodies next to bodies for bodies sake

for warmth

the snow from your fire escape a warning—or a blessing

a promise passed down from the slate sky

when it rains it pours it opens mouths heads held backward

what does the city sound like as the heat rises, starts slow then pools around my knees, seeks
the folds of my arms & draws out damp

how does it find me in shade shelter

when a bird flies into a window is it seeking the other side, or aware of the pause,
challenging the narrative

the blooms so thick they block out light air anything but each other, a dense ceiling I take a
photograph of

to break, to bloom

to be a ribcage, a hand touching someone until

a break, a bloom

when the sun comes I will lay in the grass, let it move over me, into me

like the bird some things can’t pass

I didn’t realize we were among them

Chanice Hughes-Greenberg

Chanice Hughes-Greenberg is a poet, Capricorn, & playlist enthusiast hailing from upstate New York by way of Long Island. Her work has appeared in CaketrainHorse Less ReviewBig LucksStudio Magazine & No, Dear Magazine. She has participated in readings with The Poetry Project, Cave Canem, Poets & Writers, & The Freya Project. She is also the creator of Who Is She, a newsletter that celebrates creative women. Chanice received a BFA in Writing from Pratt Institute & was a finalist for The Poetry Project’s 2018-19 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellowship. She resides in Bed Stuy with her cat Huxley & drinks martinis with a twist.