You want to know why they ask you for proof,
For evidence in the case,
You know they’ll never indict a man they see themselves in
But you try anyway.
You want to know why you don’t cry when the boys are dead
but when they are alive.
Why you mourn the country and not the fallen.
You count stars as if they are not already dead.
You tell oblivious boys you love them and then run away with it.
You know only what you have been told about the struggle,
But also what you trek through every day.
You don’t believe the reports until you see the footage.
You cringe at the gunshot before you realize they did too.
You write poems about boys that aren’t dead or dying,
You make them immortal when they already are.
You write down black and it turns to dust.
You hope to exist but disappear in the mirror.
You research hate crimes to give them the numbers.
They don’t believe you.
|Dakotah Jennifer is a twenty-year-old black writer currently attending Washington University in St. Louis. She started writing poetry at eight and has loved it ever since. Jennifer has been published in Across the Margin, HerStry, Popsugar, The Pinch Journal, Protean Mag, Apartment Poetry, Paintbucket.page, The Grief Diaries, The Confessionalist Zine, Oral Rinse Zine, and Ripple Zine. She was accepted into the Juniper Writing Workshop at Amherst and the Writing Workshops Paris with Carve Magazine for the 2021 year. She won Washington University’s Harriet Schwenk Kluver award for the 2018-2019 year. Her first chapbook, Fog, is published with Bloof Books, and her second chapbook/zine, Safe Passage, was recently released with Radical Paper Press.|
Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for Media, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.