a note on freedom
god / all my life i have been moving amongst the red & blue & white
sky with a register of everything i am owed: forty acres / a mule / joy
an apology / my argument today / god / is this: america is neither life
nor liberty nor pursuit of happiness / in the air / closer to freedom
i thrive / & god what is freedom but a breath & small act of love?
a farmer on 40 acres / a mule’s head on his shoulder: joyful
after the state sends its thoughts & prayers & condolences
every day in this country a mother drowns
in white condolences. fights god. & as she
waits for him to get up she sits discipled,
grounded like a statue in her decision
to not turn the other cheek. standing on the
edge of an empty couch, she taunts god: come on
nigga, as he collects himself the way dust
collects, what was’at shit on behalf of
the state’chu was talkin? dull light shines through an open
door. a curtain gives at the nudge of wind across
the room. every day a mother mourns in death’s
frayed fabric. she thinks she hears her twenty-six
year old laughing in the front yard. realizes
that it is only a bleating goat in the grass.
imagines her twenty-six year old here again.
this time without bruises & torn flesh & skin
still in healing. every day a mother waits
in dull light, mourns into an empty room, wails
the name of her twenty-six year old until
god, like dust, collects all pieces of himself
& thoughts & prayers sent on behalf of the
state from apology’s floor & rises once
more before her with another condolence
from the country’s floundering flag then swings. says as
god is on his back, wiping blood from his nose &
into the crux of his elbow spitting white
teeth, no prayer, my nigga, tears in her eyes,
will bring my baby back -- oh god my baby!
a field son witnesses reunion
tonight i do not believe in god or saints savior or prayer / water no longer is what it is / i do not own a boat / what do you call the air we breathe or don’t / is oxygen subtracted helium / ten million souls tied to deflated balloons drop into a field of water / welcome home
Jason Harris is an educator and poet living in Cleveland, OH. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Et Cetera Literary Magazine, Sleeper Service, Winter Tangerine, Riggwelter, 8 Poems Journal, and TRACK//FOUR. He is the Managing Editor of BARNHOUSE Journal.