by Zachary Caballero

After Nikki Giovanni’s Lecture at the 2015 Austin International Poetry Festival

If you’re black or brown
in America and the police kill you,
a narrative is already written.
Character premonition.
The word accident
is no accident.
Pay attention to diction.
Headlines are stupid.
Everyone knows what happens.
If it bleeds, it leads.
Everyone knows who’s bleeding.
What are you doing to do?
Indifference is a bad decision.

You are going to die.
But under what circumstances?

Maybe the bones inside
every black and brown body
are all made of sugar
and the wrong people
have a sweet tooth
the wrong people
want cotton candy
bur the sugar does not belong to them
the wrong people
keep eating cotton candy
in the rain because it is so easy
to waste a body made of sugar
when all it is ever does
is rain.