Two Poems

Poem in Which I Consider Refreshing My Twitter TL, But Play Mass Effect Instead

we lost another Black [           ] today. I’m just trying
to watch             the latest characters on twitter embarrass
themselves, or a chef make lobster pasta               for the fifth
time, or some dog dancing           in a dinosaur costume.

But no, we lost another to [                 ] and [               ],
and to reach my fuzzy feelings               on screen I must scroll
through Black [          ] in motion:         bent knees, abandoned
homes, blood-soaked teeth —                             viral body cam

brutality. Sunless parade                          of the poor. So today,
I do not question the Reaper      or its iron want. The metal giant
can try to save us            from ourselves. I cannot see
an end without total                                  destruction.

How could it not wrap itself       in human bones? Does this world not
feast on Black [                                                                 ]? Does
it not ask us to find beauty                                      in a bucket
of scabs? What else can end                     this cycle                           of violence?

Dez: Choose Your Own Adventure

Turn to p. 33 if her mom never accused you of trying to sound like a man when you called the house phone.

The first thing you do when you wake
on Saturdays is call her. You don’t eat
breakfast, brush your teeth, or wash the crust
from the corners of your mouth. No,

you have only twenty minutes before the bass
in your voice dissolves into a bright yellow
buzz. No matter how much you practice,
you cannot mimic the low baritone that

blesses you every morning. When her mom
answers, she says nothing, just passes the phone
to her giggling daughter that lights up
like the underside of a moon. You sound

like my boyfriend, she whispers; your chest
full of doves. Later, you slip the last bit
of that voice into a jar, careful to let none
escape. This opening and closing, your name

a prayer murmured to stars, a ritual
you do not forget. On hard days
when polo shirts and her knowing touch
are not enough, you open the jar silently

in the bathroom stall. You keep the best parts
of you stored here for no one else to see.