shapes on the wall, i see a sea serpent,
head reared above rectangular waves,
canvas reds, grays on blacks and whites.

shape of the serpent, i remember an old game,
dark teal puzzle of five 3D blocks. each block
a different shape: one is L-tetromino, another is T-tetromino,
one like a twisted Z. goal: build the shapes
to match a 2D picture on a playing card.
one of the first six cards is a sea dragon.

shape of an afternoon, forming—
for son’s nine months, two of the pieces
are too small. he would eat them.
i will teach the game to his big sister.
he will watch, drum on his high chair tray.
we will give him the largest block to gnaw.

shape of my soul inside my skin—
a canvas of light forms:
daughter, son, father, here, then.

Gideon Young is a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective and Carrboro Poets Council. Gideon’s debut haiku collection my hands full of light was published by Backbone Press, April 2021. Prince Rivers: A Leader for Justice, a biography for young readers, is forthcoming from Gibbs Smith Education. He is co-author of One Window’s Light: A Collection of Haiku, published by Unicorn Press, 2017, winner of the Haiku Society of America Merit Award for Best Anthology. Gideon is a Fellow for A+ Schools of North Carolina, a K-12 Literacy Specialist, and stay-at-home Dad. His current work is with the Arts Education Partnership and the Education Commission of the States. Discover more at

Image credit: Josef Albers, Formulation: Articulation, Folio I/Folder 14, 1972,  Silkscreen on paper, (paper) 15 x 20 in. (38.1 x 50.8 cm). North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Gift of the Josef Albers Foundation in memory of Black Mountain College,  G.72.16.1/14. © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2022.