c.r. glasgow (doc/she/we) is a non-binary, queer, first-generation Afro-Caribbean-American interdisciplinary healing artist. c has received fellowships and support from Hugo House, VONA, The Watering Hole, Hurston/Wright, and Anaphora. doc has been the recipient of VONA’s 2021 Haitian Heritage Scholarship. Their chapbook the Devils that raised Us was longlisted at Frontier Poetry. c’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Lawrence Press, Moko: Caribbean Arts & Letters, Rigorous Magazine, Lion’s Roar, Obsidian, Torch Literary, and other cross-genre spaces. Follow c’s multidisciplinary healing arts online and on Twitter and Instagram.
$ luck baby
if meh dream dey tooth fall out dey mouth
watch dey number come tomorrow
and run she run to meh bedside
whatchu dream? Ma belted in excitement
and she would finger through
The Red Devil Dream and Numbers …
oh gosh, Ma!!
(an’ meh suck meh teeth)
can’t even wipe the sleep from meh eye
meh gonna play that tonight!
come, lenme $20 till friday come
wha’ massa yuh know itchin’ to pay?
meh jus’ a chile
jus’ six years pass
maybe her susu hand come.
her palms would itch
she would play.
her ears would ring hard
coco-head bangles rattle as one finger
dislodged whatever voices
knockout any number...
when i get rich, she would wish,
and the next breath –
money is the root of all evil.
dat some twin talk
she a perfect gemini yuh know.
a 3x5 index card etched numbers and coordinates:
instructions a hazed echo...
jus’ hand it to him, she said sternly.
don’t talk! she said.
keep the change, she said smirking
the unspoken thank you.
at 6 years i long learned to sprint
through e v e r y t h i n g
it was her only speed.
so i sprinted the 2 blocks to ricky’s corner store
handed the stuffed folded card over
and as he entered the numbers into the machine
pursuing jar after jar of artificial goodness:
now n’ laters, jawbreaker, razzles, bazooka, king candy cigarettes, jolly ranchers, necco wafers (save the white ones for communion), nerds, candy button sheets, red hots, lemonheads, and, of course … fun dip.
he joined me in the opposite corner
with printed tickets
folded back into 3x5
stray bills and coins ...
do i save what remains?
or indulge ...
coat every artery in artificial flavors
this forgetting serum ...
the night’s comfort.
if dey number come!
it was a secret trade: bills folded small to shake or pass
into a 6-year-old palm
don’t tell your aunt, Grannie would whisper.
here, whispered Auntie, with a slight nod
a raised brow and finger to her lip…
a currency to–
s t r e t c h a little
make some more;
it brought their absence
but filled my hands later
it was the love they knew
my Future of ease.
Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Toi Derricotte, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.