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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 25, 2018.
About this Poem 

“I am thinking about the ways in which anti-black violence pervades the quotidian, the everyday. Grabbing a coffee. Checking your text messages. Asking for directions. For help. In Brooklyn, cops patrol the streets. For whose protection? Mine? For most of my life I have known, or understood, that to care for the well-being of another black body—even my own—is to be in a constant state of fearful dread of a violent death. Will it be today, tomorrow, walking to the grocery store, or just trying to make it home to a worrisome wife after working a twelve-hour graveyard shift?”
—DéLana R. A. Dameron

My Love Is Black

You might say fear
is a predictable emotion
& I might agree. Whenever
my husband leaves
for his graveyard shift,
when he prepares to walk
out into the abyss of black
sky, I am afraid
tonight will be the night
I become a widow. I don't
want to love like this. But
here we are: walking
hand in hand
in our parkas down
the avenues & he pulls away
from me. I might be
in some dreamy place,
thinking of the roast chicken
we just had, the coconut peas
& rice he just cooked,
& how the food has filled
our bellies with delight. How
many times can I speak
about black men
& an officer enters the scene?
I don't want to love
like this. But there is a gun
in the holster & a hand
on the gun in the holster
& my husband's hands
are no longer in his pockets
because it is night & we are
just trying to breathe in
some fresh evening air,
trying to be unpredictable, to
forget fear for a moment
& live in love & love.

Copyright © 2018 by DéLana R. A. Dameron. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by DéLana R. A. Dameron. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

DéLana R. A. Dameron

DéLana R. A. Dameron

DéLana R.A. Dameron's most recent collection of poetry is Weary Kingdom (University of South Carolina Press, 2017).