these days when i look in the mirror i see you:
your hair braided back on the right side
hot-comb press flowing down on the left.
your smile is the kind that shows the heavy lightness
of being Black and Woman and Goddess in this world.
you lived full, you radiated–
even in your last breaths you balanced the easy tension of living suspended–
like bubbles between metallic pops turned bullet holes.
is it too late to tell you how much more you deserved?
the world wasn’t big enough to hold all the parts you’d been shrinking in order to survive.
no matter how many millions
white guiltbivalence shoves toward your family
to try to silence our cries for justice–
it will never be enough.
no matter how many so-called investments they make
in shutting up generations
or shutting down deserved retribution–
no matter what lies they tell themselves to sleep at night
making us out to be criminals
or anything less that full human being
no matter what they stand on stages and say
after sitting behind closed doors and saying the opposite
they will understand
that there is no down payment for stealing life.