The Anthology 
Fire






For Ahmaud


By Tish Jones



tears collapse on top of your skin like heavy rain. there is wailing all around you,
when you are born, it is a good thing. we celebrate
the hurried and uncertain attempts to breathe. we cradle you and caress your brown skin.
momentarily, we forget the trauma inherent in your blood

when you are born- it is a good thing. we celebrate
the ancestor’s prayer manifest, in the flesh,
momentarily. we forget about the trauma inherent in your blood -
our blood – we imagine you living past twenty-three:


the ancestor’s prayer, manifest, in the flesh.
a future where someone with skin like yours, like soot, like soil, never meets the barrel of a white man’s gun.
our blood, we imagine you living past twenty-three.

anomaly:

a future where someone with skin like yours, like soot, like soil, never meets the barrel of a white man’s gun.
our dreams constantly clipped at the wings. we Black- no

anomaly,

lucky to be alive. We live as who it coulda been.

our dreams constantly clipped at the wings- we Black. know
any moment is one in which a white man might want to claim scared, and shoot,
we lucky to be alive. we live as who it coulda been,
stomaching survivor’s guilt like a bad secret. only, we know

any moment is one in which a white man might want to claim scared and shoot.
you did not deserve this,
stomaching survivor’s guilt like a bad secret only we know.
so much of us dies with each of you.

you did not deserve this.
the hurried and uncertain attempts to breathe. we cradle you and caress your skin.
much of us dies with each of you.
tears collapse on top of your skin like heavy rain- there is wailing all around you.