His Eye on The Sparrow

-after hanif

I guess  black  people  can  write  about  flowers  at   a   time   like   this since   every
poem     turns     on     itself.     Starts     one     way     to     end another.     We     see
it     in     nature     too.      How      seed    turns   to
leaf     regardless     of     its     earth     or     the     thought   inside   my    head
blossoms     into     a     hyacinth     with     as     sweet  a     scent.     Even in dreams,
thought’s pretend cousin, I    often  see      Mamie      Till.      She      walks   the
church    aisle  toward her     son’s     body while wisteria bloats the casket’s brim and
papered bougainvillea bracts emerge   from    where    his    eye    once    was.    An
entire   garden from  the  nutrients  of   once human.   And   not   to   mention all
those    awed    birds    that    circle     Emmett’s     pillowed     corpse. So  many   in
the    tabernacle.    Not    predators of the fleshly bloom or harbingers    of    his
God’s descent,  not    refugees    fleeing    his    body    exilic    but    eternity’s
messengers.  We, who pull breath, confuse death’s irony. Whoever dies and is
remembered stays living.

Copyright © 2022 by Airea D. Matthews. Originally published in Orion Magazine. Used with the permission of the poet.