While Reading This Poem

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I’ve never intended to let my voice
crackle with sultry tears
while reading this poem
but a mother kissing
the forehead of her dead child
took over my chimes

I’ve never intended to sound
like laboring lava
while reading this poem
but a soldier’s strip-search and spits

a cop’s stop and frisk
made me erupt

I’ve never intended to close
my eyes and lose breath
while reading this poem

but my boat is sinking
washing me ashore, face down in sand

I’ve never intended to write this poem

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