Ed. note: Over the next few days I’ll be posting responses to the murder of Michael Brown and non-indictment of Darren Wilson. Prose, poems, essays, collages, music, photos from vigils/rallies, and film for inclusion can be sent to email@example.com.
Things We Need Words For
“It looks like a demon.”
—Darren Wilson on his victim, Michael Brown
Take Vienna, the city of icing, the white
cake with charred bones baked inside.
It is afternoon. It is an old war. I stand
on the paved-over grave of someone
whose blood my body knows, the way
only the body knows blood, and take slow
stock of the wealth of my life. Once
my face, my nose, my unattached earlobes
were of major consequence: fear’s historical
demon, the monstrous It. Now I am a tourist
who cannot afford to stay home, toting
a pristine, unmassacred passport.
I am my country’s fortunate daughter.
I watch genocide unfold in broad daylight,
an old war pinned to young names. I know
the difference between prone and supine
so I may accurately describe a boy’s body
shot and felled and poached in the street,
waiting to be named. Pleading to be claimed.
He belongs. He belongs. He belongs to us.