Dynas Johnson


Pretend that you didn’t hear that.
Act as though it never happened.
Eat with them the next day,
laugh at their misplaced jokes, bite
the wound digging into your mouth.

Hold your breath
and see how long it takes
before someone notices your chest
isn’t moving.
        Someone will ask you
why is it that you keep bringing this up,
why are you marinating in grave soil,
are you looking for some sort of handout.
Though there’s afterlife money that you never received,
in a robbed bank, the bank that your family housed
their American dreams and mythologies.
Someone will ask you, in this land
of flourishing futures and opportunities,
what is it that holds you back?

Ask them if they see you.  
Hold up your arm and let the holes
in your body shine like stars finding shelter
in a new sky, your black an entire galaxy
of their unseeing. Open your mouth,
reveal the blood and moons and words,
so many words, milky-waying out of you.

Watch closely. See if they move forward, away,
or don’t move at all.
            You’ll hope they’ll see
beyond the ghost movies, Halloween
costumes, myths passed around their dinner tables.
You might not find out in that moment,
but movement is better than no movement.

Stillness indicates
                        that they weren’t aware

that anything had happened at all.

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