After murder,

the complex changes
names. The Flats,
The Villas, pretty gauze
for old wounds. As if

we forgot the bullets,
the children that fell, the angry
boyfriends living w/children
they do not love. I drive by
& try to remember when

pieces fit. A cloud
of cardinals explodes
from a snow drift, the splash
of my tires etching dirt

in the bank. All this flying,
impact, stain. Don’t tell me
you can’t see.

(This poem was originally published as “Your Welcome” in African Voices)

Mitchell L. H. Douglas is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. His debut collection, Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem (Red Hen Press, 2009) was nominated for a 2010 NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry category and a 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His second poetry collection \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, was published in February 2013 by Persea Books. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter and the anthologies The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South and Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky among others. He is a Cave Canem graduate and cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets. His third collection of poems, dying in the scarecrow’s arms, is forthcoming from Persea Books in spring 2018.


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