for Nia Wilson, after and with an image borrowed from Kaveh Akbar
how sweet the organ from the pulpit the one never penetrated w/ a knife the one that doesn’t stop beating ‘til the cords are released how sweet the children of sun who violence doesn’t reach & my god how sweet the snot / clear & thick & runny of every infant how sweet the thought of flowers or something gone wrong no longer am i charting new hypotheses god will you accept me the way i am? i intend to do well am often taken out of my element w/ grieving an eighteen year old black girl was stabbed today to death i know b/c npr said so dear heavenly mother how sweet the metallic drip the nasal reporting how sour the fruit of those who leave no hope for this country how sweet the haves i have missed fajr this morning every surah learned i’ve forgotten how sweet Summer 2014 tasted bedford ohio the sight of you w/o hijab w/o t-shirt to say i wept in the soft light of your bedroom / holy quran prostrated above your head an understatement to say i ever retained anything in life blasphemous al-fatiha is one i remember the light the bee a cow’s heart the size of my head beats sixty beats a minute the body a temple on loan from jannah til npr tells you it isn’t tells you the suspect is still on the loose how sweet the metallic drip nasal reporting b/c grass is greener there does not mean angels have arrived how sweet the partition between damage & desire once i wrote beat me in a poem as my lover beat me i still don’t know what i meant or to which lover i was referring one expects a lover to be memory easy to conjure up to block out vice-versa always good always there kind-hearted as an extended palm a palm clenched is a sign of aggression say i’m-done-talking say what’s-up-then? a knife to the lung across the knape of the neck say someone-call-the-police! say this girl is dying! say black lives matter! one can expect one of two things when falling out of love or out of line god, do you heal all wounds?b/c i appear it does not mean i am okay my father’s fiance ébirthed two girls this year & this year marks four years since Michael Brown in Missouri was killed dear lord how sweet the grievance four years later anytime i am sick or think about my own death reported by npr i become anxious dear god when i die or in another world live forever instruct someone to write on the tombstone a registry of my gratitude: being black public radio a caesura that shakes its head / shivers at the adhan / when Kaveh Akbar said in a poem: “it is not God but the flower behind God I treasure” & so it is not death but Nia Wilson smiling behind death for whom this hymn is for
Jason Harris Jason Harris is an educator, poet, and a NEOMFA candidate. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, TRACK//FOUR, OCCULUM, Longleaf Review, Wildness Journal, Peach Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of BARNHOUSE Journal, a contributor for Watermelanin Magazine, and lives in Cleveland.