sideshow

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.

More Poems by Danez Smith