SOMETHING WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DO
White is the wound of history
crying itself to sleep. Denying it
in the morning. That gives violence
too long on stage. We look at one another
and see the ashes billowing up and out
from under the eyelids. A boy turns to fire.
A girl breaks and no one wants to touch her,
and when someone does, she doesn’t
want to cut them, and when she
does, they bleed. The trees twist
in a wind that won’t let them grow straight
and our lives look less and less edible.
Even the bears sniff the air
and run away. We live longer
and call it progress. Who knew
the umbilical stink could be strung this far?
And as the species disappear in droves,
we nod our heads and tell ourselves
there was something we were supposed to do.
About the Author
Born in Florida, educated at Columbia University, Ricky Ray’s recent work can be found in The American Scholar (blog), Matador Review, Fugue, Lodestone, Sixfold, and Chorus: A Literary Mixtape. His awards include the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize and Katexic’s Cormac McCarthy prize. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, three cats and a dog; the bed is frequently overcrowded.