– Rachel Eliza Griffiths –

I remember the boys & their open hands. High fives of
farewell. I remember that the trees waved too.
I remember the war of the alphabet, the children
of kudzu, lilac, the spit of unknown rivers. The jury
shot rounds into the torso of that last morning. Ghosts bled
flowers. I scattered the stones. Boys were pouring
from the long mouth where they were forced
to say they were nothing. The lie of thorns.
I remember calling out
to them. I remember how their eyes rolled
back in blood. They gave me winter. I want you
back, I said. All of you. They slept
in my arms, dead & bruised like bullets.
What do you need them for, I said to the jails.
What are you eating now, the hunger whispered to
the void. Its thirst for their pink-soot soles. The meat
of nothing. Let them wave hello or the other. I don’t know
if they’re dancing or burning anymore, or if they are
a pendulum of where love cannot go
when the tongue is swollen with the milk
of black boys. I pull my brothers, my sons,
my fathers, from the trees & lawns.
Their forewings wet with clouds
& screaming. I won’t leave them,
huddled like bulls inside of a word.
I am the shriek, the suture, the petal
shook loose from their silence.