Deon Robinson

What the Law of Inequivalent Exchange Taught Me About Patron Saints

someone somewhere with a drop
of my blood dies & I feel it coming,
the deadline for work extended by a casket
& I am relieved.

a man trades a stray dog
for a thunderstorm
and the sky descends
upon us with a rumbling belly

a builder creates
the rainbow bridge
for whales and the officer
demands a toll

a homeless man
leaves a tooth under his head
when he sleeps to wake to a possession
he lost before the pilgrimage

the widow leaves a bouquet
of flowers over a tombstone
and it blooms into a reason
to never come back to the graveyard

an instrument is planted in the crimson earth
& every earthquake begins
to sound like a song
you’ve heard before

I buy my mom a clock
for dinner, it leaves her stomach hollow
but her body looking young,
forever.

The Magical Negro Archetype

Expectations make a grave out of the real world,
But who’s to say how to raise a fortune teller?
Who’s to say that crows are liars?
What makes a gang dangerous if not the birdwatcher?
Didn’t we equate crows to murder to keep the doves happy?
When’s the last time you tasted the metallic of a night’s mouth and felt safe?
Was it because of the silky saliva of constellations? Do you like the dark or what light withers in it?
Does something dark have to feel so heavy?
Does a shadow have to grovel over concrete for it to feel real?
Can the crow have kids? Can it have fears or have you only thought of birds like that like symbols?
Don’t get carried away in the fiction of transparency,
Unless you want to be stuffed with feathers that melt like obsidian.
A shadow used to be harmless once, before we named black things after the discarded areas of lights and they have reclaimed their right to vengeance.

what weeps just bleeds
After George Abraham

and perhaps tears are needed to fund the war,
spit-shine the hesitation off a dusty gun’s mouth
watch it shoot off like veiny red men at baseball games.

who can resist weeping,
poker facing a revolution all the while
crawling from the unappreciated soil’s trauma?

fear god in all their forms, the sun will once again grow dormant and even the most righteous cannot baptize out the violence
a serrated night brings to our doorsteps.

smile anyway,
pull until the hinges of your mouth split
smile for the box you deserve

for the box they put you into
for the box grandma could not escape
identity and death aren’t unique to you.

tears aren’t as valuable as they used to be,
grief is its own epidemic, a boy I knew once can tell you about
the sick mother syndrome I got on his favorite tacky polo shirt

back in ‘16 when I was still knowledgeable in how to keep
the shrapnel of it all out of safe zones, and tie the leash for tears
close to these heavy eyes

tell me something,
what is it called when you stop hearing the dogs bark,
when the night feels less like a snarl and more like a prayer?

Deon Robinson is an aspiring writer from Bronx, New York. He currently studies at Susquehanna University, where he was the recipient of the Janet C. Weis Prize for Literary Excellence for his writing. His poetry has appeared/is forthcoming in Asterism, Blue Marble Review, Bridge, Glass’ Poets Resist Series, Homology Lit, Laurel Moon and Occulum Journal. Follow his misadventures and let him know what your favorite poems are on Twitter @djrthepoet.

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