The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Blues Triumphant” by Jonterri Gadson

Gadson Author Photo2.jpg


I want to say we met like white space

meets blue sky in crayon drawings,

that we made a traceable line


over a chimneyed house

with two windows, stick figures

of my mother and I holding fingerless hands

beneath a tree, the sun in the corner


smiling; but few houses dot the dirty hills

of Albuquerque’s bloodless skyline. Traffic

and traffic lights, stray cats and shattered glass

in guttered streets, you and me


not holding hands at the bottom

of the handicapped access ramp

leading into Long John Silver’s.


I’m fourteen. You mispronounce

my name, stress the wrong syllable.


I don’t call you dad, can’t use your first name,

so I wait to be noticed. Hey you—


let’s watch the sky purple and drain

between desert hills, from here,

where we can’t tell

if the road ends or rises.

This selection comes from the book of poetry, “Blues Triumphant” by Jonterri Gadson, which is available to purchase here from YesYes Books.

Jonterri Gadson is the author of the chapbooks Interruptions (MIEL, 2014) and Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012). She has received scholarships and fellowships from Cave Canem, Bread Loaf, University of Dayton and the University of Virginia where she received her MFA in Creative Writing. She is also a graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in CallalooLos Angeles ReviewThe Collagist, and other journals. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing/English at Bloomfield, College in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter at @JaytotheTee.

librecht baker. Long Beach, CA native. Member of Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Ensemble. MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. VONA/Voices and Lambda Literary Writer Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow. Poetry is forthcoming in Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices (Trans-Genre Press) and is included in CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (MTv Books).

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