Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Danez Smith

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Have I spent too much time worrying about the boys
killing each other to pray for the ones who do it
with their own hands?

Is that not black on black violence?
Is that not a mother who has to bury her boy?

Is it not the same play?
The same plot & characters?

            The curtain rises, then:

                          a womb
                          a boy
                          a night emptied of music
                          a trigger
                          a finger
                          a bullet

            then:

                          lights.

It always drives the crowd to their feet.

An encore
of boy after boy
after sweet boy            – their endless, bloody bow.

They throw dirt on the actors like roses
until the boys are drowned by the earth

& the audience doesn’t remember
what they’re standing for.
Close

sideshow

Have I spent too much time worrying about the boys
killing each other to pray for the ones who do it
with their own hands?

Is that not black on black violence?
Is that not a mother who has to bury her boy?

Is it not the same play?
The same plot & characters?

            The curtain rises, then:

                          a womb
                          a boy
                          a night emptied of music
                          a trigger
                          a finger
                          a bullet

            then:

                          lights.

It always drives the crowd to their feet.

An encore
of boy after boy
after sweet boy            – their endless, bloody bow.

They throw dirt on the actors like roses
until the boys are drowned by the earth

& the audience doesn’t remember
what they’re standing for.

sideshow

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère