When I asked Joakim why he only wore black,
He brought me to his closet, laughed,
Replied, There are at least ten shades
Of black. When the colour fades,
You can see the undertone.
Here’s a sweater I’ve outgrown.
The worn-out spots are all green-black.
I started sorting through a stack
Of his black pants, noting other
Shades, more bruised, darkened colours:
Olive-black, an army mud;
Reddish, brick black, like blood
That’s dried; the inky-blue of crows
And blackbirds. Brown-black; wine-black merlot.
That night, I dreamt fevered dreams
Of counting blacks and shredded seams.