the way we live now ::

By Evie Shockley

       when the cultivators of corpses are busy seeding
plague across vast acres of the land, choking schools
       and churches in the motley toxins of grief, breeding
virile shoots of violence so soon verdant even fools
       fear to tread in their wake :: when all known tools
of resistance are clutched in the hands of the vile
       like a wilting bouquet, cut from their roots, while

the disempowered slice smiles across their own faces
       and hide the wet knives in writhing thickets of hair
for future use :: when breathing in the ashen traces
       of dreams deferred, the detonator’s ticking a queer
echo that amplifies instead of fading :: when there-
       you-are is where-you-were and the sunset groans
into the atlantic, setting blue fire to dark white bones.

Evie Shockley is the author of Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (Iowa, 2011) and six collections of poetry.

“the way we live now ::” from semiautomatic by Evie Shockley © 2017 by Evie Shockley. Published by Wesley University Press. Used by permission.