Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Lightening

for Deborah Johnson (Akua Njeri)

—Composed on the 45th anniversary of Fred Hampton's murder, Chicago IL—

you didn’t look

down or back, spent

the fractured minutes

studying each crease

and curve of the law-

men’s faces

so later you could tell

            how it happened:

how you crossed over
           
            his body, how you kept

your hands up

how you didn't

reach for anything

not your opened robe—

nothing—how they said he's good

            and dead

how you crossed

over the threshold

how you lifted one

and then the other

slippered foot across the ice

            how you kept yourself

from falling—how

your bared belly bore

the revolver’s burrowing snout—

            how   
how   

—how when the baby starts

            to descend, it’s called

lightening though

it feels like a weight

you cannot bear—lightening

            is when you know

it won't be

long before it's over

Credit


Originally published in RHINO. Copyright © 2015 by Deborah Paredez. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Deborah Paredez

Deborah Paredez is the author of This Side of Skin (Wings Press, 2002). 

Date Published: 2017-10-03

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/lightening