Tyree Daye

Tyree Daye headshot

Tyree Daye was raised in Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the author of the poetry collections a little bump in the earth (forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, 2024), Cardinal (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), and River Hymns (American Poetry Review, 2017), winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. A Cave Canem fellow and a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, Daye is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, a Kate Tufts Award finalist, and a 2021 Paterson Prize finalist. He was the 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received an Amy Clampitt Residency. Daye is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

From Which I Flew

–Tyree Daye

Only together holding their hands in silence can I see what a field has done
to my mother, aunts and uncles.

The land around my grandmother’s
old tin roof has changed,
I doubt she’d recognized it from above.
How many blackbirds does it take
to lift a house? I’ll bring my living,
you wake your dead.

We have nowhere to go, but we’re leaving anyhow,
by many ways. When they ask why
you want to fly, Blackbird?

I want to leave the south
because it killed the first man I loved
and so much more killing.
Say my son’s name,

his death was the first thing to break me in
and fly me through town.

If grief has a body it wears his Dodgers cap
and still walks to the corner store to buy lottery tickets
and Budweiser 40s.

I don’t like what I have to be here to be.

All the blackbirds with nowhere to go
keep leaving.

Cardinal (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). From Poetry Foundation (2020).