horror film in four parts
i only see emmett till in two-second bursts. first compulsion, second horror. two parts of one
in fourth grade, in the black wax museum, amid creaky slave ship floorboards, guttural moans,
and evaporated sweat, i half expected to see him there. a clay molded monument of white evil.
how to describe him without chimneyed disgust spilling over?
i only see smiling emmett till in two-second bursts. first endearment, second rage. two faces
sitting in separate sides of my belly.
kiya as i know her is torn in three: a mouth breathing blood in her mother’s backseat. a swollen
child swathed in hospital towels. an empty body in a casket.
i cried for thirty minutes after the wake because of her hair. braided bun, with a side-swept bang
over her left temple. the spot where bullet wrestled brain. i wept. she would never wear her hair
i called myself abolitionist until my last goodbye.
kiya as i know her is torn in three. the windowsill of our big glass home. the echo of my chant. a
southside force turned testament.
i never let myself linger near a window. my mind has yet to claim that street corner body as
mirage or mirror.
my white coworker feigned offense when i told her eye contact in north lawndale felt like
my students looked down at linoleum when we spoke. too many stories of cousins and OGs’ last
breaths wrapped in enemies’ faces.
i never let myself linger near a window. principal would once-over my corpse and tell the
coroner some blue sky story about kids playing too much with these lil rocks on the gravel.
at home, the black shadowy thing crawled out of my chest and rested in my closet’s dark, placed
herself on tomorrow’s hanger, fully choreographed in carnal hook and sink.
shadows are visions we give ourselves to remember we are still alive.