• Call + Response

Brown Skin by Shane Allison

See how you leave crumbs and stuff all over the table?

Like you two years old, boy.

You need to change the spread on your bed.

Have you been cookin’ eggs in here?

Nobody can’t get no rest for you laughin’ loud in the house.

Use a coaster for that glass.

Come in here, boy and get this glass.

And go in there and scrape your plate you left on the table.

Turn down that music, so loud in the house.

Come on and eat, boy!

Open the blinds let some light in here.

Don’t sit on my bed.

Ya need to turn the mattress on your bed.

The doctor says I need glasses.

Shane? Huh! Come here!

Help me move this table.

Look here, bought me a new pair of pants, boy.

We’re gonna get through with this house.

All we need to do is finish puttin’ the bricks around the house.

Ya daddy knees are hurtin’ again. He’s layin’ in the bed.

Chile, I tell ya, that boy.

Here, go and pour me some soda in a glass.

And bring me that salt in there off the table.

The cover to put on your bed is in the closet in here.

Bring my grandbaby in here.

I want you to bring my plants in the house

When you’re done helping your daddy bring in the table.

While you out there, check to see if them sheets dry for your bed.

I’m going to go get my eyes tested at the Hour Glass.

You need to go see the dermatologist about that stuff in your head, boy.

Your daddy is finally out of jail, boy.

Look at all that dirt you trackin’ in here.

And come in here and get this glass.

Why do you laugh so loud in the house?

Did you turn that mattress on your bed?

Don’t scratch up that glass on my coffee table.

Cut that stove down low, boy!

Don’t be cookin’ no eggs in here.

Drink the rest of that soda out of that glass.

Look at all that dirt you done tracked in this house.

Give me those pillow cases to put on your bed.

Bring my pocketbook in here off the kitchen table.

Didn’t I tell you, boy to bring my plants

In the house in here, and go out there and see if the sheets

Are dry to put on your bed. Don’t put that glass on the table with no coaster.

Shane Allison has published seven chapbook collections including Ceiling of Mirrors, Black Fag, and I Remember. His first novel, You’re The One I Want is out from Strebor Books, as well as his sophomore novel, Harm Done. Shane is at work on a new book, and a new collection of poems.

Photograph: Unsplash