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Crooked Grin

from Never Easy by Sankofa



Thinking about my dad.


I found a key without a lock and that was everything
Just imagining what it could open let me sing
Maybe it was the neighbor’s shed, or a treasure chest
Maybe both, so I buried it deep and kept its heft
The rotting wooden door slats I played tennis against
The bricks my dad used for weights so he could better prevent
The girl’s bike with a bar welded on it to make it mine
The next one had a banana seat, I’m racing by
Drag racer graphic, giant tires on the car
Dad taught me how to fix a flat and make it far
We had the patch kit, a bucket of water too
That piece of metal with the sharp parts, that ought to do
Scratch the inner tube around the puncture, for glue to stick
Get that patch and hold it steady, that should do the trick
Feed it back inside the tire, shimmy it on the rim
Inflate to the proper PSI, man, I’m gone again

The park with the bike track that had that loose gravel
Jumping off the ramp and losing balance, tooth fragile
Handlebars planting in the ground, I’m falling down
My mouth headed straight to the bar, it’s all a sound
Next thing I know, the blood is pouring from my mouth
My dad running over to me, face is formed into a frown
Tissues in his pocket become bloody from his son
Can’t remember how we got to the dentist, maybe made me run
We didn’t have a car, we walked to the park
Dentist looked me over, told me hold them steady from the start
Decades later another dentist is checking X-rays
Notices no nerves in the teeth struck upon that stressed day
That’s when it all comes back to me, screaming bloody sprays
And now this song starts to stir around this muddy haze
So when I look at my crooked grin, I’m thankful for it
It’s better than a hole where my bike had tangled morbid


from Never Easy, released November 10, 2022


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Sankofa Fort Wayne

My rhymes kick in like a turbobooster.

Fort Wayne.

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