pantoum for aiyana & not a single hashtag

There go a Black gxrl 
body still tethered
to her head

There go a Black gxrl, shirt still dry
no river of marrow or tears
following her up the block
no bile from her head 

Can we call her into form? not a river of marrow & small tears
of sweaty fabric, but manna & honeysuckle
from her skull no bile, but beatniks
in bloom. Can we celebrate the child on this side of the grass?

her sweat fabric, honeyed & unmanned 
the gxrl young, a fresh world of gardenia
bloom-ing. Can’t we celebrate? The child’s on this side of the grass! 
Open the window & usher in a new god! A breeze

gardenia-young, the gxrl a world made fresh.
in her hands—piano keys, sticks of cinnamon gum, 
a window into the new. God, an usher opening
a psalm, free to be the thing she was truly made of:

piano keys. In her hands, cinnamon sticks like guns
in the wrong light—never mind that. Today she lives. 
A thing to be freed. Made of psalms, & truly
holy. The gxrl will turn flowers into wine. Spills herself no more

wrong. & today, she lives. Never mind the light
offering summer halo. it is a myth, that we die, anyway. We too
holy. No more spills, no more flowers. From wine, gxrl churns herself a will. 
Rises from the concrete, her arms full of clove. Her mother’s yard a throne.

Anyway, the myth is that we die. We too, summer offering. Halos 
like birds on our shoulders. The gxrl, gardenia, & we planted her
full of clove & her mother. She raises a throne from the concrete, a yard of arms.
The gxrl, a god king. The gxrl, a map of good. The gxrl, a thing worth trending, after all. Just

Copyright © 2021 by Aurielle Marie. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 7, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.