ON THE DEATH OF A BOY IN BROOKLYN
Michael Brown Jr.
Now in the bone-white wastes
Of your eyes, you carry the dust
Of us—a dearth—that always was.
You speak no bones up. You kiss no clay alive.
On your forehead and some nights on your lips,
You wore the smeared ash of us that once was
One word: bliss. Old Hispanic women drip
Like dreams down memory's avenues,
Selling sweet, breaded confections
And steaming meat patties in push carts.
Tongue-tied geists go gliding down
The block, fumigating with the flames
Of their addictions the manmade stars
Of Manhattan. And the train goes ministering,
Offering passage out of the poverty of the body.
And it all harangues the tides of my heart.
Like waves beneath the moon, it aggregates
And demands a rage of my heart. You appear
As a raven, dangling a morsel from its beak,
Pecking matted, molting feathers, demanding
An outpouring of that word: grief, like a wound
On my heart. And it is then that I wish
We were not separate bodies but of a single body:
Organs underneath the miracle of form:
Atoms, the gears, animating the gyres
Of the soul, so that we would know
No longing for before but transfer these passions
Toward breaking the body's Babel with mourning.
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
Michael Brown Jr.'s work appears in Issue 43: Opening the Door.
This is a powerful poem about loss and grief. I hope that we will be able to change our society so that no more people have to die because of their race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, etc. Black Lives Matter!
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June 15, 2020
A powerful heartfelt poem very much needed in these times. Thank you. Hope there’s more.e