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I keep lighting candles on my stoop and watching the wind snuff them out

By Amy M. Alvarez

I keep thinking about Breonna Taylor asleep/ between fresh sheets/ I keep thinking/ about her skin cooling after a shower/ about her hair wrapped in a satin bonnet/ I think about what she may have dreamed that night/ keep thinking about her bedroom/ whether she had painted it recently/ argued with her partner about the undertones in that paint/ this one more blue/ this one more pink/ that she may have felt more at home now that she had chosen the color on her walls/ I keep thinking about how she could use her hands to keep blood moving through a human heart/ how she could use her hands to stanch the flow of blood until platelets arrived/ I wonder how many times she heard/ thank you for saving/ please save/ I wonder how many nights she could/ I keep thinking about her when I lie in bed at night/ when I wake up and look in the mirror/ when I walk to my front door/ I keep thinking about the life she wanted to build/ whether she had her eye on a ring and was dropping hints to the man who chose to protect her/ whether he was working on it/ whether it was in his sock drawer already as he waited for the right time/ I keep wondering why a black woman’s death alone can’t begin the revolution/ whether the sweet smoke rising to the heavens across this nation is offering enough/




Listen as Amy M. Alvarez reads "I keep lighting candles on my stoop and watching the wind snuff them out."

Added: Tuesday, September 29, 2020  /  Used with permission. Previously published in "The Acentos Review."
Amy M. Alvarez
Photo by Adam Lewis.

Amy M. Alvarez's poetry has appeared in Crazyhorse, The Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, PRISM international, Rattle, and elsewhere. Her work has also been anthologized in Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (Haymarket, 2020). She has been awarded fellowships from CantoMundo, VONA, and The Furious Flower Poetry Center. Originally from Queens, New York, she currently resides in Morgantown, West Virginia and teaches in the Department of English at West Virginia University.

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