Another Elegy

by Jericho Brown

 

Expect death. In every line,
Death is a metaphor that stands
For nothing, represents itself,
No goods for sale. It enters
Whether or not your house
Is dirty. Whether or not
You are clean, you arrive late
Because you don’t believe
Her when, sobbing as usual,
She calls to say if you don’t stop
Your brother, she will kill him
This time. Why rush? By now,
You think she likes it, his hands
Slapping her seven shades of red.
Besides, your brother is much
Bigger than you—once you tried
Pulling him off the woman he loves
And lost a tooth. Expect to lose
Again as you stand for nothing
Over his body, witness or
Reporter, murderer or kin.

 

Reprinted from The Volta, They Will Sew the Blue Sail