the eyewitnesses were right. i was shot.
bled. died on my way to the hospital.
but you keep pretending i’m here, alive. so i play
along, hoping to get quite good at it. & i did—
your naughty son, in his room, bad
at suppressing his laughter at the nasty jokes
he calls dark humour, spitting the f-word
while you kneel in the parlour, regurgitating prayers.
i’m here, because you found my name in the dailies
through blurred eyes, & sieved its letters
from the number of victims, like you pick out grits
from a tray of beans, using a dim flashlight.
i’m here, because you called
forth the texture of my skin from my ugliest selfie.
it is true. a bullet chose me among many protesters,
the very same way god’s forefinger pointed me to your lap.
but mother, i’m tired of pretending. of wearing
cologne to cover the smell of formalin
on my body. of answering your call to help
with your back zippers. to stoke your cooking fire.
i think it’s time you let me go, evaporating
with the tears of those who identified my body.
i’m sorry, but the memes have stopped being funny.
and god knows i don’t want to deafen you with the quiet
that follows the last laugh you’ll hear from this room
father calls me out of, to sit under the moon with him
forgetting it’s my body.