a note on the body by Danez Smith

your body still your body
your arms still wing
your mouth still a gun

you tragic, misfiring bird

you have all you need to be a hero
don’t save the world, save yourself

you worship too much & you worship too much

when prayer doesn’t work: dance, fly, fire

this is your hardest scene
when you think the whole sad thing might end

but you live oh, you live

everyday you wake you raise the dead

everything you do is a miracle

alternate names for black boys by Danez Smith

1. smoke above the burning bush
2. archnemesis of summer night
3. first son of soil
4. coal awaiting spark & wind
5. guilty until proven dead
6. oil heavy starlight
7. monster until proven ghost
8. gone
9. phoenix who forgets to un-ash
10. going, going, gone
11. gods of shovels & black veils
12. what once passed for kindling
13. fireworks at dawn
14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
15. (I thought to leave this blank
but who am I to name us nothing?)
16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath