Monday, June 7, 2021

Measured by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon


If space makes the pattern, her absence is filling a quota.
The president says,
            “we’re a nation of laws” :—
The limerick
            under her dreaming :—that lilting.
At seven
            a Seuss-rhyme’s still funny.
            And who’s to say wouldn’t have been, still, at 30?
            The Sneetches or What Was I Scared Of?
She’s seven, asleep on the living room sofa.
     ] in amphibrachs—:
                                    who hears her
                                                            breathing? [
If space makes the pattern, her absence is filling a quota.
                                    This absence—:          Aiyana.
            But what was the officer scared of?
             What reaches for him in the recesses of
            his attention?
            What formal suggestion of
            darkness needs stagger
            to formless?
If space makes the pattern—:
                                    This grief in the rhythm of—: uplift too
                        a measure of struggle.
Which struggle with law
                                    holds the dark in it? Keeps
                                              the dark of
                                                Quinletta, LaToya, Kimkesia, Oneka, Natasha, Breonna…
                                    my still-breathing cousins
                                                ] your still-breathing cousins [
alive in it.         Aiyana. Her breath in perfection—:
at seven—:      This measure for measure on measure on measure
or else—:
Law is dead, Aiyana. It never was

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