out of the night that covers me: {for akilah, deebony, joe, & taurean}

a lamentation over young lives lost to white supremacy & gun violence



a tussle at the shoulder.

love taps.

someone whispering my name.

my senses awaken.

eyelids ajar.

i see their faces.

the brown and mocha skin.

of my beloveds.

the sisters i never had.

but always needed.

we had just crossed over.

those burning sands.

an hour prior.

linking up.

to a sisterhood a century old.

we were unconquerable souls.

captains of our fate.

a date burned and cemented.

indelibly within our flesh.


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how we laughed.

and celebrated.

in those waffle house thrones.

with plastic tables for queens.

taking air into our breasts.

heads held high.

in the bond.

of our devotion to one another.

and purposes larger than ourselves.

that night we were gods.

immortal power.

invincible futures.


though it was late.

in the midnight hour.

we had seen the divine.

somewhere intertwined.

between the crimson and cream.

and within each other.


and we were desperate.

to never let the night die.

not without our tired permission.

so, we ate.

fighting off the sleep demon.

heads rocking back on fulcrums.

we dared the morning to find us unafraid.

to take us back to the real world.

and remind us of our responsibilities.


sleep demons rose again.

out of the night that covers me.

and him.

and them.

and her.

a sleep demon with a pale face.

black coat.

black gun.

and hatred.

pouring from his soul.


a bullet to the shoulder.

rat tap tap.

angels whispering her name.

her senses are frightened.

eyelids ajar.

the sleep demon sees their faces.

their brown and mocha skin.

the humans he never loved.

but always feared.


she had crossed over once.

and was preparing to cross again.

joining the sisters.

that had walked that stage before her.

instead, her body walked into those pearly gates.

with an unconquerable soul.

as burning bullets.

singed her flesh.


how they pleaded.

and prayed.

in those waffle house thrones.

and plastic tables unfit to be shields.

gasping to fill air in their lungs.

heads ducking.

in the barrage.

of dangerous ammunition.

and a problem much larger than themselves.

that night we petitioned God.

for God’s immortal power.

and their invincible futures.


it was too late.

for that midnight hour.

they had met the grim reaper.

somewhere intertwined.

between the blood and grits.

as they held onto each other.

in their desperation.

to live and not die.

not in these fell clutches of circumstance.

but to no avail.

fired upon by the sleep demon.

heads rocking back on fulcrums.

they begged the morning to find them unharmed.

to take them out of this nightmare.

that was our responsibility to end.

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