Cecily Brown

The Blacker The Berry

It starts with a question, and
shotgun-chests pumping,
and broken English shoved
past brown lips
aimed at
bulls-eyed backs that run
until their chests
and their blood runs back
down street corners 
where flowers grow into little
black bodies.

It starts with an answer 
that sounds like a threat,
and a threat that sounds like 
bullets tearing a hole in the air with gold teeth,
leaving crimson stains on bodies 
shaped like roses.
It’s the sharp faces 
with eyes that rip 
families in half,
eating the world with their fists, 
and swallowing concrete 
until their throats crack like old cement,
and the children 
that listen to the 
splintered altercations of their brothers
who should have known 
how to duck,
and the shotgun shells 
that peel skin and 
vomit the shadows 
Of black flowers that 
squeeze between
the cracks of gang colors.

It’s always
black skin on brown skin, 
and 9 millimeter screams 
that sear the urban flesh,
and the children
that breathe in the acid 
of their brothers’ sins
until their lungs
crack like broken fists.

So it ends 
with black suits feeding 
dirt to a coffin,
and fractured eyes that bleed
 fear into little brown bodies,
that stand 
with wide chests, and callous hearts,
dealing with the consequences 
of their brother’s sins,
and then,
then they’re asked
where they’re from.