January 5, 2016

Anthony Frame

WHY WE DON’T HAVE CHILDREN

We wrap inside each other, all legs and arms
and lips, skin that burns at the touch, her hand
on my chest, my hand beneath the blankets.
She opens her eyes and we speak without tongues,
a tribute to the warmth of breath, and outside
the sirens wail again. They killed the boy only
a few hours from here. It took only two seconds.
Tonight, we wrap inside each other and remember
why we don’t have children. Her pink hands
carving sentences into my back, my freckled ears
against her chest, dancing with her heartbeat.
Last week, the cop who stopped me as I walked
to work, his hand ready at his hip, telling me
to take it easy. It’s winter and I’ve yet to lose
my tan but he’s always too far to see. He’s here
in the bedroom, him and the boy, as we try
to drown out the sirens with our bodies,
our eyes and hair loaded with snow. I could dare
a barrel into a staring match but it only takes
two seconds to kill a boy. Faster than the sound
of cicadas. We refuse the bruises of blood,
we want to honor the thrust of history, the trust
inside each splitting cell, so we wrap ourselves
within each other, away from the constant sirens.
We fumble our flesh, our mouths wide enough
to swallow the world. I trace myself along her belly,
grateful for its emptiness. Selfishness is a sin
we can live with. When we leave, we’ll leave
nothing behind. The love we make, we take with us.

Poets Respond
January 5, 2016

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Anthony Frame: “This poem is in response to the announcement that Timothy Loehmann, the police officer who killed Tamir Rice, would not be indicted.” (website)