by Tyree Daye
Photo: darlene anita scott
Photo after photo measured
our way to Virginia Beach.
The family pressed against rest
stops, or on the hood of a car.
We measured our way by the fields connecting towns.
23 from here to Raleigh,
mostly tobacco with big white flowers.
We were so young and present.
We still knew how to let our bodies go.
Now, a field measured out and full of my kin.
I yell let go body into the night sky.
Let go body, let go body,
until I feel it like the holy ghost.
The old folks refer to this as God.
Before I saw and took a picture of the ocean
on my phone. I wanted to place an ocean in my mother’s backyard.
I’ve always known it unmeasurable
like fear. It hurts I’d always said.
How could I have known
that the sky was clear
only over the field of my willingness?
Give me back to the water, the dark bodies
of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m yours
if you need me.
Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the winner of the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his book River Hymns. Daye is a 2017 Ruth Lilly Finalist and Cave Canem fellow and longtime member of the editorial staff at Raleigh Review. He received his MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. Daye's work has been published in Prairie Schooner, New York Times, and Nashville Review.