Things Thrown Away with My Mother’s Living Room Carpet

After Francine Harris

all 57 of my matchbox cars
the VCR but not the tapes
my great grandmother’s recliner.
everything on my great grandmother
but her wrinkles. Her voice is gone too
but she is still talking
still choosing this house.
the boyfriend my mother used to
stare at because that’s what people in love do
is gone.
the first novel I ever loved
but not the characters.
the Anamaniacs.
homeboy from across the street
but not the bullets.
the car that hit my cousin
the asphalt
the curb
but not the walker,
not the crutches.
all the hair I shamed the curls out of.
all of the gym shoes & baggy jeans.
all of the summers spent
being my friends,
my enemies,
the media,
but the media is not gone
BET isn’t gone,
but Martin is
Girlfriends is.
the jobs my teachers said
i’m too smart to settle for.
the jobs my mother thought
my gpa could get.
cursive writing.
squared roots.
all the phone numbers I had memorized.
all the memories I never thought
were good enough to showcase
like an exhibit.

Justin Rogers is a poet, educator, coach and venue owner from the city of Detroit, Michigan. Rogers is an advocate for literacy among inner-city youth, and the amplification of Black voices. Rogers works for InsideOut Literary Arts where he serves youth, and is published in multiple anthologies and journals. Rogers continues to travel with his poems and will be touring in Spring of 2016. www.bordersinpangaea.com