The Exchange: Lint

The Weekly's poetry corner offers our thoughts in exchange for yours

  1. The Exchange: To Our Flags
  2. The Exchange: The Negro Speaks of Dryland
  3. The Exchange: blue is darker than Black
  4. The Exchange: Sans Fleur
  5. The Exchange: Blindspot
  6. The Exchange: Her.
  7. The Exchange: Lint
  8. The Exchange: Reality Check
  9. The Exchange: Caution
  10. The Exchange: Rubik’s Cube
  11. The Exchange: The Path
  12. The Exchange: sTREEtS
  13. The Exchange: Butter
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Lint
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

My uncle called us while we were sitting in an IHOP after church 13 years ago to tell us a branch had fallen from our family tree before it had the chance to grow a single fruit or see her flowers bloom. 

I remember where in the restaurant we were sitting and I remember what song played in the car as we drove home and what seat I sat in and what window I looked out of and the things that we passed and which street we were driving down as the news fell over my head like dead leaves do you see how grief

clings to the binding of your life like lint. And I wash and I brush and I wash and I wash but it never lets go.

And I wonder if she even remembers me as if that’s even a thing–as if memories can remember. Like, if she can remember then she also could be looking at me right now. And once I turned older than her, seeing my own fruit immature, my own petals still stuck to one another, the lint I’d thought I’d dusted away was right back where I last saw it.

Chima Ikoro is the community organizing editor for the Weekly. She last wrote about CPS’ back-to-school conundrum.

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Prompt

“Think about one of your most vivid memories. Why do you remember it in such detail?”

This could be a poem or a stream-of-consciousness piece. Submissions could be new or formerly written pieces.

Submissions can be sent to bit.ly/ssw-exchange or via email to chima.ikoro@southsideweekly.com.

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Featured below are two reader responses to a previous prompt. The last poem and prompt can be found here.

With me
by Armani Rogers

I keep all pieces with me. Heirlooms of different times logged only by their significance to me

Extensions of me I call them. Badges for the rite of passage in my mind
Sometimes blemishes
Sometimes broken
The souls never left
I still carry them with me
For they are pieces of my soul

Some are parts of others. Given in a heat of the moment exchange. Airing grievances or hoping for a better union.
Acts I come to cherish as they bare new life
As part of me
It’s painful but I’m not in control of that. Face the music

Some I make my piece and share to others.
I let them go like they were my ideas given life
Ready to leave the nest in my head
And give new meaning to someone’s life
I’ve had my time now they must live with you.
And the next
Or maybe die

Like everything, they come with cycles
Here today and gone tomorrow
Nobody is ever sure when either happens but it does
It just does.
I can say I’m happy with that
Knowing that I don’t know
Bits and pieces leave me and make space for new in my ever-changing existence
These phases can’t be helped

They are with us until they are not

Armani Rogers is an artist from Chicago Lawn. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @koifshhh

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Not my Baby by Kathy Powers

It’s finally back to school.
We’ve been holed up and
Buried our dead. Forever bound
By COVID surges.

Liefoot prepared her testimony
The schools are safe, as she
Installed unopenable windows
At a Rogers Park high school.

Go back to school the blame-and-shame
Mayor decreed, “The schools are safe,”
With unvaccinated teachers and students,
No soap, supplies, and knock-off HEPA filters.

She decried, “Expect some casualties,”
It’s because of the teachers.
The bully mayor ordered
In-person learning will prevail.

I care about your education.
The nervy CTU demands remote learning.
I hold hostage your laptops
And lock out teachers.

I’ve been perfectly clear:
The schools are the safest.
Homes are the spreader culprits,
Not our Aramark-cleaned schools.

Back at school, staff, students, parents
Sickened and died from COVID.
We no longer hear false school bells:
Not us, our babies, or our parents!

#LoriLockout2022

Kathy Powers is a writer from Rogers Park. You can find her on Twitter @KathyPowers2020

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