From the author:
"The poem was written out of the frustration, grief, and sadness of events this week (7/8). Between Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas...there has been ample need for reflection and expression on a personal level. Addressing the frustration of both observing such blatant terror, and having our grief silenced by those unaffected by it, brought me to a place of needing poetry to get my thoughts straight without having a to-the-death debate with everyone on social media. The Death Note metaphor came to mind while reading Lauren Bullock's 'Pokemon Go and Choosing the Blackest Joy'. I don't know if it was actually there in her writing, or was sparked indirectly (but either way, thanks to Lauren for the piece!), but the poem ended up being something I hope to share. For healing, sympathetic outrage and grief, for something other than dead-end despair. Hopefully something good can come from it. "
Death continues to court us.
Love-struck shinigami, its
is not an invited romance,
nothing in this melanin to misconstrue
as a spur in the side of its stalkership,
but its still us catching glances for the
aftereffects of its harassment.
Maybe if we didn't lead Death on, boast
its favorite shade in the beauty given us,
in the magic pronounced by unbowing heads
and tongues 400 years
have yet to bleed the song from, maybe then
we wouldn't find ourselves forever addressed
the bullets and badges
straight laying us out like speed bumps.
Maybe then, expiration dates wouldn't hang
their haunting promises overhead for those
with the right eyes to see, and to feel
like mouths devouring our insides. We
have begun to walk assuming each
one fear-gnashed traffic stop away from those
ghosts becoming zeroes.
How many breathless black bodies did it take
for Misa's bargain to wet our eyes
with this more horrible vision?
Our eyes are the only reminders we need that
those who look like us are little more than prey,
that those most responsible for our protection
are increasingly knife and fork at our necks,
and that those tick-tick-tick-ticks
we know to gloat overhead
will never be proof enough for people
who've already decided the guilt of the dead.