“The Way the Tides”

A Poem by Rickey Laurentiis

October 29, 2021  By Rickey Laurentiis

Changed. Done

Changed. Did. Did been.

Do. The woo


Do opon the shores,

The mercy that isn’t taken against

Thy cliff


How, the ways

In which, such privilege, and thusly

Y’all all


In respect,

Apparently, to gender

Entering me.


Some start with little or

Less gender; other days overwhelm.

Why, yes, today


Very gendered! The air

Bethicked right salt

Of it, and free



I look! Some days go

Restlessly, I remember,


I begin again the woes’

Whoing me up, a sun

Across a fog,


Dolores and Truth,

The blue way

An ocean revises the shore,


Hinges that are the birds flying,

My very skin, black, growing



Each spill of a pill, breasts, lips,

The conjugation of

My waist, my


And so daybreak

Breaks over me,

Apparent, a new woman,


Out of the grammared

Pearl and waves

To you, waves,


It’s no longer then

You see me. No,

You sea me.


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The preceding is from the Freeman’s channel at Literary Hub, which features excerpts from the print editions of Freeman’s, along with supplementary writing from contributors past, present and future. The latest issue of Freeman’s, a special edition gathered around the theme of change, features work by Joshua Bennett, Sandra Cisneros, Lauren Groff, Sayaka Murata and Ocean Vuong among others, is available now.

Rickey Laurentiis
Rickey Laurentiis
Rickey Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, to love the dark. Boy with Thorn, their debut book, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Other honors include fellowships from the Lannan Literary Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

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