(sketch)I don’t mean to bring it back here:the carpet sore beneath the undone window,the small opening making open the big thing,the etcetera, etcetera, dead folks, etcetera,but I need to know what undoes itself?what kind of latch without hand?this is our undoing. woman beside me in the cafésays this massacre is so like us. I think of the “us”this takes, the ownership and likeness,until I remember she might not mean our us,maybe their us. but maybe we got an us too:me, her, everyone who decides to have it.I think that’s what she’s hoping for – distance,something to climb out of herself through.you know how you can undo a whole homewith the unlatching of a window? howl from the pitbeneath it? say “we did this” and “we allowed this”and the girl beside you will forget you are white, maybewill not query your us-ing. will not ask which “us”of this countrywill not actually say Charleston.will leave you a window, open.“Bree climbed that flagpole with such grace,”she says. undid the flag. the window is open still.left it open, kept the flag, let out no howl.the opposite of howling, actuallythis is the perfect time to singwe, we, we, weyet and still the churches burn, the window’s open,closing it will not save us, another window won’t save us.who is us and what are we and what do you dowith an open thingthat can’t be fixed by closing?
Copyright © 2018 by Renia White
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Renia White is a writer from the American east coast. She holds a BA in journalism from Howard University and an MFA in creative writing from Cornell University, where she also taught writing. Her work has won awards from the Hurston/Wright Foundation and Sonora Review, and appears in The New Guard, The Offing, Tahoma Literary Review, Slice, and elsewhere.
Prelude is a journal of poetry and criticism based in New York. We publish online each month, in addition to a yearly print issue.
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