Hattie Shares the Honey Wine

Hattie’s brother died
by his own hands,
she reads the menu,

says order the 50/50,
half of this and half of that,
and we use our fingers

to scoop Ethiopian wat
in soft injera sponges,
come for the open

mic, says Hattie,
it’s tomorrow night.
Hattie is a painter

of the old wall kind,
shaman of the fallen,
she peels off

the burned-out
boards, gives the dying
one more story,

day after day
splattered
in paint, patient

like Baltimore, like
slow jazz, sweet
as honey wine.