I am collected from the routine river: bloated, bound—
black to white.
Lookie-loos with Lysol eyes welcome themselves to the nickelodeon
and I am briefly skimmed,
a postcard hanging from worn branches.
Anatomy, no longer reflected by idle mirrors.
A hymn sung to the mothers of ghosts,
deforming black tears into black headlines,
reshaping young bones into bullet casings.
I didn’t know it would be like this: white to blue to black to blue.
I didn’t know it would be like this: a cop with a complex—
a celebrity in rehab.
We hold up our hands from the peanut gallery, simply black.
I and the Mothers. Branches and casings.
Brown eyes look through cracked windows to find justice,
and ghosts pray for others to see red, too.
Red to black to white to blue to red, then black again.
Red to river to tree to bullet to verdict, then black again.
Janine Blue is an MFA graduate from Western Washington University. As a black female, her prose and hybrid work is always embedded in feminism, race, and queer culture.