sideshow

By Danez Smith Danez Smith
Have I spent too much time worrying about the boys
killing each other to pray for the ones who do it
with their own hands?

Is that not black on black violence?
Is that not a mother who has to bury her boy?

Is it not the same play?
The same plot & characters?

            The curtain rises, then:

                          a womb
                          a boy
                          a night emptied of music
                          a trigger
                          a finger
                          a bullet

            then:

                          lights.

It always drives the crowd to their feet.

An encore
of boy after boy
after sweet boy            — their endless, bloody bow.

They throw dirt on the actors like roses
until the boys are drowned by the earth

& the audience doesn’t remember
what they’re standing for.

Source: Poetry (March 2014).

 Danez  Smith

Biography

Danez Smith is a Cave Canem Fellow from St. Paul, Minnesota. His full-length collection, ‘[insert] Boy, will be published in 2014 by YesYes Books.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Time & Brevity, Youth, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.