The Act of Counting

Powerful and sad

Raven's Wing Poetry

To be black in America is to at times commune with the unnaturally dead.
— Cornell W. Brooks

Should I count my blessings:
that I don’t have bullets
buried in my back,

or that among the worst things
I’ve seen while
wearing this brown skin

are a drooling, satin-doll fetish
for my “high-yellow” skin

or the occasional “nigger”
hurled in my direction?

Mike Brown can’t count
anything anymore, not even
bullets in his body –

unless you consider crisp stars
like scattered salt in a black sky sea,
or glassy Empyrean gates,
or imagined angel wings.

I could count ropes,
rapes, bullets, chains,
accusations, catcalls;

white boys unwilling
to introduce me
to their parents;

the assumptions about
how I got my job or education.

I’ve ran out of fingers
and I’m tired of numbering sins
no one asks us to forgive;

I only say
that no one should count
on…

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