“what the dead know by heart”

“what the dead know by heart”

by Donte Collins

lately, when asked how are you, i 
respond with a name no longer living

➢ ➣ ➢

Rekia, Jamar, Sandra

➢ ➣ ➢

i am alive by luck at this point, i wonder
often: if the gun that will unmake me
is yet made, what white birth

➢ ➣ ➢

will bury me, how many bullets, like a 
flock of blue jays, will come carry my black
to its final bed, which photo will be used

➢ ➣ ➢

to water down my blood, today i did 
not die and there is no god or law to
thank. the bullet missed my head

➢ ➣ ➢

and landed in another. today, i passed
a mirror and did not see a body, instead
a suggestion, a debate, a blank

➢ ➣ ➢

post-it note there looking back. i
haven’t enough room to both rage and 
weep. i go to cry and each tear turns
to steam. I say

➢ ➣ ➢

I matter and a ghost
white hand appears
over my mouth

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