A Poem: What the Dead Know By Heart by Donte Collins

This week the Academy of American Poets announced Donte Collins won the Most Promising Young Poet Award for 2106.

what the dead know by heart

Donte Collins

lately, when asked how are you, i

respond with a name no longer living
Rekia, Jamar, Sandra
i am alive by luck at this point. i wonder

often: if the gun that will unmake me

is yet made, what white birth
will bury me, how many bullets, like a

flock of blue jays, will come carry my black

to its final bed, which photo will be used
to water down my blood. today i did

not die and there is no god or law to

thank. the bullet missed my head
and landed in another. today, i passed

a mirror and did not see a body, instead

a suggestion, a debate, a blank
post-it note there looking back. i

haven’t enough room to both rage and

weep. i go to cry and each tear turns
to steam. I say I matter and a ghost

white hand appears over my mouth

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A Poem: What the Dead Know By Heart by Donte Collins

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