I had a dream I was with my family, woke up here.
Missed home, remembered that America is burning
at the broken bridges of our different skin.
Thankfulness sits at the edge of the scene, shy
and unsure how to enter. There is none of it now
that is not hollow.
What should burn in me remains hollow,
limp and useless when I am an ocean away from the storm, when I am here.
I can hear the throat-ripped shouts, the sound of now
the loudest thing ringing. The sight of buildings burning
drains the appetite for even the pretense of cheer. Shy
is the mouth at a time like this, when it’s set in my skin.
Grey is the color of the English sky’s skin,
bigger than a body, six times as hollow.
The people are shy
with shock, a six-bullet body doesn't happen here.
Only London was burning
with protest, shouting out the same “now.”
All time zones recognize a now.
Now is the instant the world hears of blood-stained skin
lying on the street, burning.
A holiday back home should not make this hollow,
and there is no excuse to turn your head here.
America has not been shy
about what we’re not grateful for. There’s been enough shy
voices that hesitate to speak before the gun. When we sit, now,
at the table, does its sound echo here?
It depends on the family’s skin.
Some hearts are hollow,
others are burning.
As the stove keeps burning
for the family feast, remember that we aren't shy
of fuel for a different fire. One that doesn't lick the hollow
edge of a pot but is still smoking now
on the streets, among the ashes. In our skin.
It has never not been here,
but it has cast off shyness now,
burning brighter, forging a thicker skin
to cover the hollow throats that shout they've had it up to here.