His Eye on The Sparrow
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.