Elegies for Dead Black Women

The first death comes by
bullet. The second, when they’ve 
forgotten your name. 

for the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina Susie Jackson and Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd and Ethel Lee Lance. Names that sound like my nana’s friends. Can’t you hear them whisper Hush, chile. Hush.
Miriam Carey. Shelley Frey. Aiyana Jones. Rekia Boyd. Pick a name you didn’t know. Carry it with you. Bear the weight of her loss.
For Black Transwomen Murdered in the United States When they hunt you with abandon and misname you while mourning, my own fragile freedom is hollowed. Wilted. Now, I will call you queen, call you cousin, homegirl or sister-friend. I will conjure your grace in poems. I will weave your names into prayer: Elisha Walker, Shade Schuler Keyonna Blakeney Veronica Banks Cano Kendarie Johnson India Monroe Jazz Alford, Goddess Diamond and Rae’Lynn Thomas Ashton O’Hara Dee Whigham, Deeniquia Dodds and Papi Edwards Brandi Bledsoe, Bri Golec, Kristina Gomez- Reinwald, Maya Young London Chanel, Skye Mackabee, Keisha Blidge and Jasmine Collins