To be queer & black is to walk out of the closet
into a casket – Donte Collins

Last week, they burnt two boys blocks away
from my balcony. The neighbour said
they were found twirled in an embroidery
of flesh, black skin whetting black skin.

Believe me when I say it is a jungle outside.
There is a mob hiding in the crease of
an eye, waiting to catch you kneeling
before an open thigh.

Every corner of the road is a pyre camouflaging.
Every streetlight, a stake waiting to betray.
& I wonder who is the custodian of love.
Who welds a lock to a body & says,
do not worship here.

In tears, my friend says to me, you will never
understand our plight. All you can do
with privilege is pluck a poem of pity.
& perhaps he is right. Perhaps a poem
is just a voice plunged into a fistfight.

Next week will they not burn another queer boy?
Like a heathen book, they will wet his pages
with petrol & ask the fire to read him to ash.


Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels