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Poetry

Eric DeVaughnn

Eric DeVaughnn is a poet residing in San Bernardino, Ca. He received two degrees from California Baptist University and is father to a 3-year-old daughter.

Current

the swirling about
heads, this buffeting
at the feet

a more consistent
pull with every passing.
we stand

in soaked streets
calling for our breath
to return from

where the current
has carried us. rust, caked
beneath our fingernails

flakes off, floats
into eyes: we claw
at our necks.

and I can’t tell
by the weather if I’m
flying or drowning

Our Looting Within Meets the Burn Without

“There is always a river” – Danez Smith

– for George Floyd

the day after the latest protests
210 westbound, the curve between
home and the job, is littered
with cars busted, broken—the last
up on cinder blocks, with no wheels
the way they always are in movies

amazon requires we wear masks
although they recycle what waste
we exhale; protection, now anything
that covers the nose and mouth.

(remember:
if you can talk, you can breathe)

white men are soft in greeting
me today. I say hi and notice
they watch me for much longer
than is comfortable, as if waiting
to see whether my breath will feed
flames into their tender lungs.

suddenly, the bandana I’ve worn
for the last month seems so much
a brighter red.

with every black man who passes,
I lock eyes. this extended glance
says: “ready to burn this shit down?”

a casual upward nod answers:
“hell yeah. just say the word.”
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