Pox (For Philando)
It hurts to hold my face together.
What I muster
is less than truthful. Pretense borne
blank check of oppression
in the steel-toed boots poised
in the teeth of a genuine smile.
Still we bleed
for this land, but she is unmoved
for Buccra claims
an exclusive birthright
no room for you and me. Rope, stick,
badge and gun –
His agents demand
their pounds of flesh from our women
our little boys and girls
the appetites of their cursed imaginations.
It hurts to hold
my face together.
No amount of cosmetic alteration
the scars and puckered
The grooves and jagged
from wounds rotting
well past expiration dates. Wasteland
and pustuled misalignments…
It hurts to hold my face together –
and if I can’t, what will I tell
them? How will I arm my children sitting
quietly in the adjoining room waiting
for the next phase to begin
as a pestilence devours
the land, our cycle of privation unending?
can I bestow as they venture
that the beast – with sharpened
teeth – still roams?