For National Poetry Month: “Post-Verdict Renga for Trayvon”




Post-Verdict Renga for Trayvon 

 

Provincetown, MA

Heat. Bodies gleaming with sweat and sun. Day pressing itself against everything: unforgiving. I am walking down this street thinking of another walk in another city, of a boy who never makes it home. I, too, am armed with thirst and a craving for sweetness; I, too, wear his brown skin and do not belong here, to this city of leisure and narrow streets. Fear passes through me, a phantom, and is gone. Overhead, flags flutter in the thick, salty air. Not guilty, they say. Not guilty. Not guilty. Not guilty. Not guilty. Not guilty.

  

     Beginning is red—
a door, a car, the bowed lips,
     a nameless flower.

                    * 

I have so few names for things
     here, I fall into silence 

     Two men, black as God,
their shirts golden as morning.
     No words between us.

                    *

    So much passes in the glance
that the throat cannot muster. 

   Three headless torsos
 in a store window. A light
trick makes men of them. 

                    *

   In this city of flesh, you
can almost forget the ghosts. 

     Fat daylilies crown
long green stalks, their orange heads
     the color of grief.

                    *

 No candlelight vigils here
   only the living, living. 

  He walks, oak brown, bald,
belly like a commandment —
      I am here: make way

                    *

Nothing I say will save you,
 but how can I say nothing? 

    Thick black curls cut close,
Buttoned black shirt. Caramel face
     diamonded with sweat. 

                    * 

   a dark, ageless face
wise and innocent as earth —
   how have you survived? 

   I can’t stop counting
the bodies that look like yours:
   five this whole morning. 

                    *

I can’t say if this matters,
   just that I saw, I did see. 

¤

Lauren K. Alleyne is currently the Poet-in-Residence and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.

 

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Open to any author writing in English about the Chicanx/Latinx experience, the Rivera Book Prize is committed to the discovery and fostering of extraordinary writing by a first-time or early career author whose work examines the long and varied contributions of Chicanx/Latinx in the US. The Rivera Book Prize aims to provide a platform that showcases the emerging literary talent of the Chicanx/Latinx community, to cultivate the next generation of Chicanx/Latinx writers, and to continue the rich literary memory of Tomás Rivera, Chicano author, poet, activist, and educator.

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