The Lincoln Park Memorial Cemetery by Christell Victoria Roach

The wind ain’t never been nothing but breath.
Every hurricane season—rhapsody—Black bodies
emerge from water and wake  in the trees. Somewhere,
stone cracks, and we hear: Stacy, a surname left
like a charred femur after a ritual. In search
of the Wards among a field of graves, I see the shadows
of bones and bodies. I watch as the caretaker hacks
at the plants trying to steal a grave, pull it below
the high water table—they wanted the bones. Here,
the dead swim among the living. They gather in the water
welling beneath Washington Dr. Each step swells my feet.
I stand still as the two-headed women who collect
offerings and hand out blessings on the corner.
A cold whistle moves my hair, nips my ankles,
pulls my skirt, and I watch burrs catch the hem.
I am the torn flag at the gate of Lincoln. Some say
at night the wind is as rough as a ring-shout: a chorus
of praying hands and other limbs ashen with departure.
The body calls and you cannot help but to respond,
as the feet and fingers do: a quiver of riffs caught
in the breath. Call it racial arthritis. You can hear
whispers in the shadows of buildings from NW 46th St.
to NW 27th Ave. They search for lungs who know
water. Oh, ghosts of Miami. Tonight, I lie beneath
a sheet of blues, held by a Black body.
I am drawn North; the moon is my city.

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