I.S. Jones

The desert
            is a single held breath.
The nights here are so empty

I forget why I’m alive.

Grandma is God’s breath sweeping around me.
She is a bundle of unnamed stars,
the ones that stitch themselves
into a different beauty every night.

This is how the desert settles:
when the wind tires of turning
sand grains for answers,
the arid breath becomes a wave void of water.
Sun crosses my window,
marking the world for departure.
Trains drag their ankles full of rust.
In evening’s breath:

Rest, the echo seems to say. But I can’t

so I step out of myself.
In my dreams, Grandma comes for me.
She creeps along the walls.
Asks me to say her name but I have forgotten.
Asks me for water, even though water cannot save her.
I am so thirsty where I am.

She is buried in a village Mom does not know the name of.
I tell Mom demons come to my dreams
wearing Grandma’s skin.
Mom still sleeps with her Bible under her bed.
She doesn’t know how not to.

Train horns come through the open window
singing my chest open.
Grandma’s spirit is cold air passing through me.

She tells me she is buried in sky,
that stars are what happen when the dead refuse to let go of living.

I.S. Jones is a spoken word poet from Southern California. While she had the California sun in her blood, I.S. recently moved to New York to pursue her craft, the stage, and is a graduate candidate at Hofstra University. She is coeditor of Chaparral, a literary magazine, Editor-in-Chief at Upcoming Hip-Hop, and an editor at Encore Radio Show. Committed to engaging the world with language, I.S. is interested most in celestial bodies, the dead, and what it means to be Black in America. She has a chapbook forthcoming.