by Christopher Johnson-Roberson
His body shattered by stones
or other acts known only to God.
A lily stem aslant in a glass jar,
its petals fallen off, all fragrance
gone from them, only the stamen
sticking out, its anthers
furred with black pollen.
I will never have a child
born of my flesh. No miracle
swaddled in lambskin
ever arrives. I know this as I know
life-saving blood could be sucked
out of anyone’s veins not yours,
not anymore, if you’ve — with a man
even one time since 1977. Sin
conceived of before we were born,
visited upon us again. The state
furthers its legitimate interest
by telling us to die.
Meanwhile all across America
people give each other flowers.
Chew them to pulp, spit through a sieve,
strain the crushed mass into a foliate shroud.
Chris Johnson-Roberson is a graduate student at Brown University in Providence, RI.