“Sandy Speaks” by Tiana Clark

Tiana Clark


after Emily Dickinson

Because I did not turn my signal on for Death—

Sandy speaks to me
beyond her grave
her voice on YouTube—

He harshly stopped for me—

The body is gone
& the words remain
she says,
You can’t tell me God ain’t good.
& I want to believe her
but how did you die
& when did the murdering start?

The police car held but just Ourselves—

So many questions
you cannot answer
& They will not answer
but you testify in Death.
She says again,
You can’t tell me God ain’t good
& I want to believe her.
I am a black woman, too—
I fasten my seatbelt—
I check the speed limit—
push the needle to hover
just under 30 mph.
I click the turn signal in my car
& I say her name.

And Immortality.

Poets Respond
July 26, 2015

[download audio]


Tiana Clark: “In a voicemail Sandra Bland left during her time in jail, in regards to her situation, she said she was “at a loss for words.” I have felt that speechlessness all week as I was processing how I felt about what happened, especially being a black woman in America. I found myself becoming anxious while driving in my car—wondering will I be next? People have been posting her YouTube videos from her channel, Sandy Speaks. I was especially taken with one video; in it she has just survived an accident where a motorcycle crashed into her car. In the video she repeats, “You can’t tell me God ain’t good,” over and over again. I started crying, as she was crying in the video. It felt like a release of my grief and I began to write this poem for her. Let us not forget, let us keep saying her name.” (website)

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