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jesus lost his milk teeth & he looked so much like his father

Quinton Okoro



all at once. he placed them,
still warm, pulp still clinging to crown,
into his mother’s hand.
she bent over him, her palm flattened with expectation.
these will make a great gift for your father, mary said.
jesus thought of joseph,
his body curled over a plank of cedar that would soon
become a table in mary’s kitchen.
but my father works with wood not bone, jesus said.
his question hung in the air before
meeting mary’s faraway smile.
she always seemed to be looking at something
right behind him and terrified of what she saw.



mary knelt over one of the holes at the foot of the cedar tree 
in her relative’s land.
her fingers trembled. her breath hitched. 
her garments were soaked with mud.
she only ever dug shallow enough to bury his smaller 
miracles: a baby
bird,       it flew with wooden wings,
     its body was stiff and speckled with gold

or a miscarriage,             the month-old clot had slipped down her leg 
                     on her son’s third birthday, red and pulpy and human

or a child’s incisors                please, is this enough for you 
                         yet, she begged


Quinton Okoro is a Black, nonbinary poet from North Carolina, with a BA in Creative Writing from UNC-Chapel Hill. They are a 2023 Tin House Summer Scholar, winner of the 2023 Anne Williams Burrus Prize in Poetry sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, and semi-finalist for the 2023 Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry from Nimrod International Journal. Their poetry is featured or forthcoming in Shō Poetry Journal,, Nimrod International Journal, Driftwood Press, and Allium: A Journal of Poetry & Prose, among others. Find them on Twitter @quintonpoet.