my dad asks, "how come black folk can't just write about flowers?"

bijan been dead 11 months & my blue margin reduced to arterial, there’s a party at my house, a house held by legislation vocabulary & trill. but hell, it’s ours & it sparkle on the corner of view park, a channel of blk electric. danny wants to walk to the ledge up the block, & we an open river of flex: we know what time it is. on the ledge, folk give up neck & dismantle gray navigation for some slice of body. it’s june. it’s what we do.
 
walk down the middle of our road, & given view park, a lining of dubois’ 10th, a jack n jill feast, & good blk area, it be our road. we own it. I’m sayin’ with money. our milk neighbors, collaborate in the happy task of surveillance. they new. they pivot function. they call the khaki uniforms. i swift. review the architecture of desire spun clean, & I could see how we all look like ghosts.
 
3 squad cars roll up at my door & it’s a fucking joke cuz exactly no squad cars rolled up to the mcdonald’s bijan was shot at & exactly no squad cars rolled up to find the murders & exactly no one did what could be categorized as they “job,” depending on how you define time spent for money earned for property & it didn’t make me feel like I could see less of the gun in her holster because she was blk & short & a woman, too. she go,
 
this your house?
I say yeah. she go,
can you prove it?
It say it mine.
she go ID? I say it mine.
she go backup on the sly
& interview me going all what’s your address—don’t look!
& hugh say I feel wild disrespected.
& white go can you explain that?
& danny say how far the nearest precinct?
& christian say fuck that.
& white go can you explain that?
 
I cross my arms. I’m bored & headlights quit being interesting after I called 911 when I was 2 years old because it was the only phone number I knew by heart.

Aziza Barnes, "my dad asks, “how come black folk can’t just write about flowers?” from i be, but i ain’t.  Copyright © 2016 by Aziza Barnes.  Reprinted by permission of YesYes Books.
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