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Samaria Rice, Mother of Tamir

Can’t live here. Can’t live upright now. Just here,

he was. Too quiet, nothing bangs the screen door

or needs new shoes, nothing eats my cooking

or does homework at the kitchen table.

The sky closing, my daughter’s mind collapsing

like her baby brother on that grass. Can’t live

across the street from that gory field, can’t look out

of windows just like the windows some idiot

watched Tamir play from, called in the hit. Can’t bury

my son while they bury his case, bury justice

in loopholes & months of red tape. Can’t bury the cop,

though I have in my mind many times. Can’t deal

with walls, doors. Floors that are too damn clean

of 12-year-old sneaker prints. Can’t deal with over there

& this never being over. The ground howls,

beckons me as his infant cries once did. Footage

loops on & on—Tamir, Eric, Aiyana,

didn’t know murder could look like

wrestling, snuffing bugs, or taking out the trash. Can’t live

yards from the chalk outline near hopscotch grids.

My ears can’t hold the chirping of birds as if

nothing happened. Can’t do it! Lord help me, my child

& mind shot. Always gasping, two-second

discharge, bullet-fast oblivion. Police car

hearse-black. Why is my son not worth pause,

Miranda rights or any other protocol, a bad cop’s day

in court? Can’t have coffee across from the yawning

green mouth swilling his blood or boil eggs aside

that open coffin. Broken hearts bound

by yellow tape. Done living at this address of can’t,

of never again, of not sorry for our loss. Forward

feels pointless; let me live the whole truth now

that my family has been shattered. My head

on this homeless shelter pillow is honest—

there’s no safe haven I could ever own.

from Starshine & ClayFind more by Kamilah Aisha Moon at the library

Copyright © 2017 Kamilah Aisha Moon
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Kamilah Aisha Moon Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.