Two Guns in the Sky for Daniel Harris

Raymond Antrobus

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When Daniel Harris stepped out of his car

the policeman was waiting. Gun raised.

 

I use the past tense though this is irrelevant

in Daniel's language, which is sign.

 

Sign has no future or past; it is a present language.

You are never more present than when a gun

 

is pointed at you. What language says this

if not sign? But the police officer saw hands

 

waving in the air, fired and Daniel dropped

his hands, his chest bleeding out onto concrete

 

metres from his home. I am in Breukelen Coffee House

in New York, reading this news on my phone,

 

when a black policewoman walks in, two guns

on her hips, my friend next to me reading

 

the comments section: Black Lives Matter.

Now what could we sign or say out loud

 

when the last word I learned in ASL was alive?

Alive — both thumbs pointing at your lower abdominal,

 

index fingers pointing up like two guns in the sky.

Raymond Antrobus, “Two Guns in the Sky for Daniel Harris” from The Perseverance. Copyright © 2018 by Raymond Antrobus. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins, 2018)