Published on Academy of American Poets (

My Love Is Black

You might say fear
is a predictable emotion
& I might agree. Whenever
my husband leaves
for his graveyard shift,
when he prepares to walk
out into the abyss of black
sky, I am afraid
tonight will be the night
I become a widow. I don't
want to love like this. But
here we are: walking
hand in hand
in our parkas down
the avenues & he pulls away
from me. I might be
in some dreamy place,
thinking of the roast chicken
we just had, the coconut peas
& rice he just cooked,
& how the food has filled
our bellies with delight. How
many times can I speak
about black men
& an officer enters the scene?
I don't want to love
like this. But there is a gun
in the holster & a hand
on the gun in the holster
& my husband's hands
are no longer in his pockets
because it is night & we are
just trying to breathe in
some fresh evening air,
trying to be unpredictable, to
forget fear for a moment
& live in love & love.


Copyright © 2018 by DéLana R. A. Dameron. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I am thinking about the ways in which anti-black violence pervades the quotidian, the everyday. Grabbing a coffee. Checking your text messages. Asking for directions. For help. In Brooklyn, cops patrol the streets. For whose protection? Mine? For most of my life I have known, or understood, that to care for the well-being of another black body—even my own—is to be in a constant state of fearful dread of a violent death. Will it be today, tomorrow, walking to the grocery store, or just trying to make it home to a worrisome wife after working a twelve-hour graveyard shift?”
—DéLana R. A. Dameron


DéLana R. A. Dameron

DéLana R.A. Dameron's most recent collection of poetry is Weary Kingdom (University of South Carolina Press, 2017).

Date Published: 2018-05-25

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