Robert sits by an open window
waiting for nightfall, his steel-string
a breath waiting to be exhaled. The rain outside,
like a bluesman’s arpeggio, taps against
the tin roof, finding the holes
and nestling there. It has been two days
since the word came down, two days since sleep.

In the corner, the radio pours out
its oblations to heartache the way a wound
relieves itself of blood. Meanwhile
the clock stirs in short fits, burdened with time.

Say it plain: sometimes the blues takes
and sometimes it gives back.

Meredith Nnoka is a recent Smith College graduate with a degree in Afro-American Studies and English. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she works at a high school, writes poems, and takes French classes. Her fiction can be found in The Cadaverine.