After Birmingham, non-violence
wasn’t holding down its side of the scale.
I guess to learn not to hate
you have to learn to hate, first.
In polite conversation at an otherwise
empty bar, a man told me
he was proud his family fought
for the Confederacy, and I said I wish
your whole bloodline had ended there:
thin and shoeless on a battlefield,
neck blown open. I got kicked out
of the bar. Tonight, in Bushwick,
in line at a taco truck pop up,
in the middle of an art gallery,
I thought to myself, this wouldn’t be the worst place
for a bomb to go off.
AND ON DAYS I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE DEATH PENALTY,
I kiss my white boyfriend goodnight.
I hate you, I whisper, and make him say it back.
I still live on the same earth as Dylann Roof,
where being an organ donor feels like tempting fate,
a red mark on my driver’s license giving away my secret:
I have a heart in my body and you can take it
out of my body if you want!
RFK said, a white man killed my brother, too,
then never talked about it in public again.
It probably isn’t true but at the end of the war
somewhere South Lincoln asked,
where is the oldest slave in this town?
and led him to a pile of Confederate money
and handed him a match.