What does one do to protest
when one is Black and woman
in city sandy white and military and lonely?
My lover, like Yahweh,
is prone to the hyperbolic—
never leaving nor forsaking,
his anger always just and provoked.
But he is numb
this lynching season.
I am unsure of my capacity to move.
The music: “Daddy changed the world”
“I miss him sometimes”
And a trans woman is beaten half to death.
I have lost count of the days I have imagined myself
Teaching self-control to the self and to memory,
defining Black inside the self and safety of distant communities,
becoming resolute without conference—parley or palaver.
I want to burn something white— a police car maybe,
the tubular light of someday, precisely:
The libation work of pouring gasoline
and dropping the lit match—
staining and singeing
making it red and black and honest.
The music: “rubber bullets”
“Who is handing out bricks?”
“Acting like they escaped from a zoo. Lock them up at 5 p.m.,
so the streets can be nice and clean”
Wearing a mask, this time, is advised.
On the stretch of highway behind my apartment complex:
fogged glasses and tear gas,
helicopters hovering overhead,
“Happy Birthday! Are you all okay? Did you know it was even happening?”
Domestic smoke occurs in the form of disagreement.
My spouse holds himself up in the one bedroom of our one bedroom.
With nowhere to go while cross country at pandemic’s midnight,
I fill my black Honda with Black Beyoncé and indulge in unchaperoned rage.
A police car finds some folk to pull over just ahead of me.
I dead the speakers. I sleep on the couch.
I haven’t watched anything I’ve set fire to burn.
My mother watches my sisters’ live feeds from the DC protests.
She professes protection in prayer over their ordered steps.
She offers praise for her daughter who sits at home.
“Joe Shoot em’ in the leg Biden”
“Today is a good day to arrest Breonna Taylor’s murderers”
Columbus down the river
The Oprah Special:
“Where do we go from here?”
My spouse tells me to get out after I say I’m leaving.
We both know we have nowhere.
We force love’s resumption because we have nowhere.
Why do we hate the ones we cannot protect?
“I love you” from all the white people I know.
I am trying to center.
I cannot hold child’s pose or corpse pose for 8 minutes and 45 seconds,
but I can run in the university parking lot until I can’t feel my feet.
Email: “Petition: Happy Birthday Breonna Taylor”
I have no money. I am told my name is enough.
I always take him for granted because he is always more tired than I.
There is no way to know, but I believe him.
And the memory of my godmother—
hospital-bound from COVID,
dying alone on her stomach—
and I am even more lonely than before.
I dream about nothing
The music: “You about to lose yo job
cuz you are detaining me for nothin’”
A Facebook status about the police being slave catchers
Marvin Gaye and the Electric Slide
All the brands and my favorite slave-built institutes
monetizing solidarity claims—
their lamb’s blood on the door post.
I cannot watch Black anyone lead white anyone in discussion
without feeling a slight wave of nausea.
He wants to have a baby soon.
I don’t know why.
All I see is my unborn,
made strong and meek from carrying this more perfect union,
in a field of red geraniums
upside down and swollen.
Why do we hate the ones we cannot spare?
The music: this vision