2016 Winning Poem – Visiting Florida by Trinity Tib

I listen for the signs
of you as I lie awake in the guest bed.

You haunt your way through the house
loose dentures rattle like bone dice
paper hands whisper against the walls

I don’t wonder what you’re up to– I know:

At breakfast, I flinch as food falls
from the bleating prayer in your mouth.
You look like my father,

but how sloppy you are with his body.
He taught me to rest a napkin and my left
hand in my lap.

I don’t want the citrus or the eggs

I stay for the trace of him reflected
in your coffee.

Newcomer, I’m sorry I don’t love
your slow speech, it’s not your fault
he stopped signaling.

I look into you, searching for him.
I imagine he is huddled over a small fire
behind your milky eyes

marooned, but surviving.


Trinity Tibe is a co-founder of Say Yes Electric Collective, an art community in Brooklyn that creates space for diverse artists and encourages collaboration. She is working on her MFA in Poetry at The New School and performs regularly in New York. Find her at www.trinitytibe.com or on twitter @trinitytibe