testimony with salt on the wounds

Danez Smith

               after Jacqui Germain

we  leather   split   back   spit    up   red  pus  keloidscripture

      fresh mouth made on we side          bucket full of   teeth   


                                into    the air

                                                      where      we body     was     oh


                             you are     late again           we ran under


                                                           color of     everything     

                                                 in the night

that don’t shine     the wide black     filled with     deeper

stars            & no stars

     but     the moon     gave us up                      great white

eye disturbing

                             the great nigger of night


                             if you are

          any good                          if the salt must be                  like salt

                                    please                     let we be like the water

          just let     we spill everywhere       darken soil

make a thing



                                                                           you are

                                         too short     a word for god

       if the devil feels       like this       poppin

                 in the places     they popped we open

           make we body feel like it’s coming

off     in steam     make we boil     with no fire     or wet

in your hollow gospel

   we burn          smokeless             our suffering

miraculous dear lord








we to safer war          at the end of we blood

warmer shore

                    gift we our body                          we build

you many church

                 we think our body churches


                                                     a good thing to


holy merch/-ant           chant skin

                 rant cotton pant

                             good back good nigger     work song grief

we thief     we self into the moon     ’s roar           let we

death        be nature’s choice

                          we run           all                  the way

                                   to we

              blood dried                 all over glee           sweet

                          lord           what we seen

                          done in your name

by your law

                       we say mercy

                                   we mean monster

                                            we know

     no good     your gospel brings                     we

sing for the lord

                                                                   for the

                                                                   sake of

                                                                   the sing

we don’t know     how   to call on we     old gods

     in the absence of knowing                           we use

your name