There is an old kind of blood on the jack boots,

darkening the bay’s reeds and

rusting in the old stockades. The steel hulls are

still floating, ships harboring the crows and rats,

the parasites that once fed on black bodies

ripped from their homes.

America shared this feast with the small bugs and mammals—

the crops and the money, the taxes, the pointed dehumanization

and destruction of their life,

spiced with blood and sweat and shoved

down her greedy, piggish throat.

The old white gluttons grew angry

when their plate was taken away,

fearful they would die without their human feast,

they found subtle ways to siphon flesh

like wolves stalking in the evenings—

one attack every 28 hours,

they’ve exchanged the southern grey for the union blues

and state badges, stabbing and beating

until the funerals become a constant,

endless drone of dirges,

leaving grief stripped naked on her knees

and sobbing into the dirt full of corpses.

They will then tell her she is insane when she tries to hit them

with her withered fists, when she throws stones

in their direction, and trauma steals away her voice

so she burns messages into her living room walls.

This is the deepest violence,

a severing of the spine of peace,

to ask a mother to respect her son’s killers,

to thank them for their protection,

and then wonder why her voice turns to ash

while you choke her.

Do not ask why Baltimore burns today, America.

Your ivory hands down her charred throat

are the ones that make her vomit sparks.

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