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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


by Lynne Knight

In the shower this morning I saw the girl
my mother had been, gathered with her brothers
around the piano while her grandmother
played whatever tune someone called out—

laughing and singing and clapping,
a brown-eyed girl of seven, ten, eleven—
and then she was twelve, her favorite brother
shot dead—and again, again, a nightmare

she woke mute from night after night, like the girl
on KTVU news last week, and the week
before that, and back, and forward, and back
on the streets of Oakland or Richmond,

Newark or Pittsburgh, the list far too long
and the brothers too numerous
to name, those dearly beloved who never
finished their lives, leaving girls

who carry their names into prayer
until they become the language
of prayer, syllables attempting to still
those over-and-over cries in the night—

Lynne Knight’s fourth collection, Again, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her awards include a Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America and an NEA.