american protest

by Keith Wilson

bullets demand water and light.
the body’s slope is more valuable than oil
(if you’d believe it). let us pray. admit
we mustard seed the earth. might
could have saved a child. love is a weed
that dandelions up the hill. the house is still
white. what does god need with ammo
when he has lions? heaven-sent
that god doesn’t hold to amendments.

***

here lies a post
emboldened with our writing.
how we quicken to overthrow a taste
that took a thousand years to make. like a root
that disrespects the blacktop,
we’ve been made to move. or how trees ignore
stop signs, live around the red, or swallow
casings. we could stand
to crack granite. granted, we be.

***

we haven’t been made
afraid of the trees, nor the bottoms
of cars, the clouds, the gavel, the sea.

***

what is a group of the aggrieved?
it is an unkindness
of ravens, for instance. for instance,
a dole (an offering)
of doves. we’ve arrived as congregations.
been glorious in the off-white of wings.
what is more godlike than peace,
than quiet, as of the breathing of evening
birds. the warble with our sisters, our brothers, in the trees.

***

we not allowed to kneel. we are not allowed
to walk to the streets,
and our chests are riddled with patriotic birds
and patriotic shells. there is a surefire
way to discriminate the ravens from the crows.
painfully slow, a feather
falls forever in the eyes of my people.

***

because killing is never out of season,
especially when the leaves are brown.
because oak trees grow slow and rope drops quick.
how different the drawings of our people
if we only had that kind of time.
when the wind tasted nigger, our families
formed a draft. when the snow stacks
outside the window like a set of dinner plates.