Black Heaven (inspired by Danez Smith)
Somewhere, a place that isn’t here, Black angels
carve themselves into stained glass. Do back flips
over break beats, and freeze
time in an instant.
Lift their hands in praise, with no fear of looking like guns.
Black boys pick flowers
by the garden. Sweet singing like Sunday choirs. No longer worry
if the streetlights come on.
Brown girls are draped in clouds and jump rope on golden concrete.
They wrap their afros up like halos and dance with the Sun.
Last night, I hid
my voice somewhere in the back of the moon,
Didn’t care if I had lost it.
Last night, I spread my skin atop the mantle to air out. Never knew
that my body could be something worth admiring. Last night,
I took my dreams
upstream. Sat them by the river, and watched them drown.
Do you know how it feels to be here and unseen?
Do you know what it’s like to say goodbye to
a friend before you’ve said hello? Do you know what hell
we’ve been through to deserve this paradise?
When I was alive, I didn’t have that luxury. My mouth was a trigger.
My voice, the gunsmoke. But here, in this drunken abyss,
I decided to be God
Spoke myself into existence
Wrote my killer’s name on the bathroom mirror; America
Does it matter if it’s a dream if it feels this good? Heaven
is just a forever where there is no such thing as bye.
It’s going to the store and getting to come back.
It’s playing your favorite song
in your car as loud as you want.
Not watching your childhood sink away
into the Mississippi.
I don’t know where I was before, But I know I’m about 100 miles
north of somewhere better than I used to be.
They said we’d have to die to get to heaven.
I didn’t believe them. I lay atop it all, stuck.
Like streetlights on black skin.
Like angels, carved into stained glass.