After Danez Smith


A bullet sought for a hallow land
on the succulent beds of a body,
how it buried itself & dragged the victim
into the depth of death’s ocean,

sometimes, it is the knee of an
insignia blocking the flow of a
black breath, moulding the black body
into a flower in God’s garden,

this black skin is a lover’s dirge, how
it curates an elegy through misfired bullets
& builds into a headline for the media,

& I always wonder,
should I find a planet created the day
God painted my skin, a black sky,
the color of the devil?

A black man dies & becomes
a new name stashed in history & also
becomes an after-death celebrity,
& I wonder, do black lives really matter?

I must commend the George Floyd murals
eating up walls in the white streets,
but would they stop the consummation
of more of my black brothers like the emptiness
that devoured the contrail on a blue sky?

Dear white street, would you grace me
a bottle of turpentine so I won’t
end like Wilson or Floyd?


Photo by Jake Schumacher on Unsplash