Lil’ Tee

did time—
didn’t say for what.

His head a shrunken dark blot
riding on top of a big white jacket.

He answers questions proper with his
New Orleans, Yes, Ma’am, southern speak,

he means respect to a social service
lady holding a key to survival.

Ground-up in a Texas jail, living with AIDS,
he moved north after Katrina.

I got him a cot at the shelter.
He waits for housing,

stops in daily to check.
What will you do when you get your voucher?

Get an apartment, Ma’am.
Get my GED, talk to kids in schools,

tell ’em how to get cleaner than a broke-dick dog
just like me, Ma’am.


This poem also appears in truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS by Julene Tripp Weaver (Finishing Line Press) on Amazon.


About the Poet:  Julene Tripp Weaver’s third collection of poems is truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Julene worked in AIDS services for 21 years. Garrison Keillor featured a poem from an earlier collection on The Writer’s Almanac, and in his anthology, Good Poems American Places; recent publications include River & South Review, Riverbabble, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Writing in a Woman’s Voice.


Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Start your morning with a nourishing poem.  Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, and  Tumblr,  and enjoy a new poem every morning straight to your feed.