Tyree Daye
Begin with Me

                      after Lucille Clifton


I began like you. With what I was given,

a mama, a third, a daddy, and a little brother

I love like a corner piece of heaven.


We were a poor people given nothing,

we had to earn our life        like we wanted our life.


I knew my mama’s voice   through all the other mama’s voices.

I knew my little brother’s lying

like I knew our father’s lying,

same song, higher key.


I am alive living near some graves

I share the last night with


Death will make a space for you

there’s love in that.


I’ve asked my dead for forgiveness before the moon touches us

and make what I say true.


I want to walk into my very own home. I am a black bell ringing

into a void I truly fear.



Found In Volume 51, No. 06
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Tyree Daye
About the Author

Tyree Daye is an Assistant Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of two poetry collections: River Hymns (APR, 2017) and Cardinal (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Daye is a Cave Canem fellow, and he has won the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellowship, 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at UC Santa Barbara, and a 2019 Whiting Writers Award.