Sons of Orion
for Alton Sterling, Andrew Loku, Philando Castile, et al.
I wanna live, son. But which son are you?
There where the rivers are made
of moonshine and the lights still wait,
move by the music of the dealer’s bootleg CDs.
Have you left the street-side, the Rigel stage
for another watery home?
What still lingers by blood, the bulk of wound
in your ghetto sonata? What bites the freak
off by its defiance of bandages? There may never have been
an autumn too sacred for this summer solstice.
Given the body’s exotic architecture,
it’s prostrate before the cosmic rubble, its willingness
to cope with joy as it spins
farther out from knowing too much of the bulk
not enough of the blood — the creeping
catatonia passing for touch and air — on the studied shade
of night bleached in a sunlit porous concrete.
Who were you before? SOS. Sol. And if not the names
on this subsolar roll call: do not try to pull or remove your stitches on
Whose Sol are you, then, son?
River Fort King Whisky Knight Mathematician?
Sun like mountains turned
through co-op effort, black at night?
Sol still in declination? How far would you go
to make sense of sunburn
to make every candle yearn
make brief light and pray how they taught you
light and pray, too, this light is yours —
Canisia Lubrin, “Sons of Orion,” from Voodoo Hypothesis. Copyright © 2017 by Canisia Lubrin. Reprinted by permission of Wolsak & Wynn.
Source: Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn, 2017)