September 21, 2017

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, Philando

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 to carry my black
to its final bed, which photo will be used

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

& landed in another. today, i passed
a  mirror & 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 & each tear turns
to steam. I say

I matter & a ghost
white hand appears
over my mouth