Mourning Sickness | Khalisa Rae

Every time my husband walks outside
I am afraid someone
will make him asphalt
And I will be the widow

mourning. In the morning going
to view the dew of the body,
they stole from me.

No one ever gets their just due.
How we know the suspect caught
will get off and fly

the coup, go back to the streets
to find someone else to send back
to dust—a decrescendo of earth.

The ground song we knew is gone.

Just like the sky we were aiming
for was a reflection and we were all diving
into empty swimming pools.

Each of us coming back as crows
that fade too fast for them to catch
us. At night I listen for the sound

of my husband’s disappearing.
Wait for the officer’s pound
at my door. This Blackness

is a death sentence, and inevitable sorry
for your loss. Mouth gaping, eyes closed, hands
waving from the vibration of names
turned to headline.

A hymnal of hurt and healing settled
in lungs that can’t rest.

Khalisa Rae is an activist, poet, and educator in Durham, North Carolina, and a graduate of the Queens University MFA program. Her recent work has been seen in Damaged Goods, Terse, Crab Fat, Glass Poetry, Brave Voices, Hellebore, Honey & Lime, Tishman Review, The Obsidian, Anchor Magazine, New Shoots Anthology, Red Press, Roses Lit, among others. She is Managing Equity and Inclusion Editor at Carve Magazine. Her forthcoming full-length collection is debuting from Red Hen Press Spring 2021 and White Stag 2021.

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