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

your own.

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)