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Poet of the Week: Kristiana Rae Colón

Kristiana Rae Colón, Chicago, IL
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what i mean when i say vigil

Purge: the living
need to purge,
forge a ring of wailing,
fire a womb of grief,
fur of teddy bears to mildew
in the snow, snapbacks
on snapbacks, caps embroidered
with names of places the dead will never see.

We need this: traffic jam
altar where the boy’s body bled,
to shiver here Missouri winter
& conjure his ghost rustling
the wilting balloons. To light
a votive, to clutch our plastic
candles with battery fueled flames,
gather and sing.  To clean
December’s rotting leaves, October’s
molding gourds—I mean these days
we pray with our rage, with voices flayed
raw by the vortex. I mean these days
we mourn through megaphones,
yell elegies at riot shields, gouge
the eyes of body cameras with the litany
of slain names. I mean these days

the dead demand glass and gasoline,
haunt clouds of tear gas, cackle in the crack
of a baton. We cremate the QuikTrip
in loving memory. Black specters
dare the living to retreat—in memoriam
we march asphalt to ashes, badges
to dust. These days
we be mourning with our feet.

Kristiana Rae Colón’s Poets Tour Profile