Who schooled you in the Incendiary Arts?
Trained you to wield helplessness?
You, 17, full of hip-switch and giggle
adrenaline-high with the judgment
of a matchbook.
Who taught you
the Craft of Damsel? How to snatch breath
from the air?
your arm, not knowing it was made of fire
and fuel. It’s since been a century fraught
with reverbed 911 screams.
Cities still burn.
Your comfort still kills.
For all that was lost in the Tulsa Race Massacre
Copyright © 2022 Candace Wiley. Originally published in World Literature Today (Spring, 2021). Reprinted with the permission of the poet.