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"The Embrace," by Jennifer Packer


Peace on this planet
Or guns glowing hot,
We lay there together
As if we were getting
Something done. It
Felt like planting
A garden or planning
A meal for a people
Who still need feeding,
All that touching or
Barely touching, not
Saying much, not adding
Anything. The cushion
Of it, the skin and
Occasional sigh, all
Seemed like work worth
Mastering. I’m sure
Somebody died while
We made love. Some-
Body killed somebody
Black. I thought then
Of holding you
As a political act. I
May as well have
Held myself. We didn’t
Stand for one thought,
Didn’t do a damn thing,
Derrick, and though
You have left me,
I’m glad we didn’t.

Listen to Jericho Brown read “Stand”

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