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By Derrick Weston Brown

for Sunil Tripathi of Brown University, named a suspect in the April Boston Marathon Bombing by Reddit although he had been missing since mid-March. His body was found nearly two weeks later. And for Salah Eddin Barhoum, an unnamed "Saudi Man," and "Brown Running Man," and all those who fit a description.

Your brown skin is not a bomb.
Your brown skin does not mean bomb.
Though they doctor pictures.
Though they cry cowards.
Though drones may have your name on rolodex.
Though they cry why do they hate us so, with the ball of their foot on your neck.
Though they stop and frisk.
Though they shun background checks.
Though they throw stones and hide their hands.
Though they stroke gun butts.
Though they fondle sleek barrels in their sleep.
Though they run their hands through shotgun shells like loose grain.
Though their journalism is pale and piss colored.
Though they peer through their own monstrous veil.
Though they forget home grown rotted roots.
Though they pull weeds and crush seeds in others' gardens.
Though they flash your photos with reckless intent.
Though they posse up.
Though they scramble like keystone cops.
Though they shoot first.
Though they shoot first.
Your brown skin is not a bomb.
Your brown skin does not mean bomb.
Your breath is good mornings.
Your eyes are promises backed by
prayers uttered from the backs of throats
of those who love first and question later.
Your brown skin is a country

Added: Monday, July 14, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Derrick Weston Brown

Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in creative writing from American University. He is Poet in Residence at Busboys and Poets (14th & V). He has studied poetry under Dr. Tony Medina at Howard University and Cornelius Eady at American University and is a graduate of the Cave Canem Summer workshop for black poets and the VONA summer workshop. His work has appeared in such literary journals as Warpland, Mythium, Ginsoko, DrumVoices, The Columbia Poetry Review, and the online journals Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Howard University's Amistad, LocusPoint, and MiPOesias. His debut collection, Wisdom Teeth, was released by Busboys and Poets Books in 2011. Brown attended both the 2008 and 2010 Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness.

Other poems by this author