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Trace Depass

Trace DePass

blood-ornament

                  &, abandoned, ‘boy’ oscillated son
unmoved, erected, befuddled, he stood, a candle
alone, outside of love & time, striking darks which stood
up, wicked, all night. his wick unlit until each moon
placed light. his dark a smoke made up
                of wax, martyr, mortar. his Mary a mosaic
who mothers the wind, alone, already, unready
                caught in teeth her long night’s. & if a makeshift altar
on which its wax stand be plated
in rose gold or rusted silver,
‘he’ itself still held no value.
                the anthropomorphized ‘he’ ‘he’ say ‘he’ be.
say ‘he’             never felt a warm man.
& never. not even after this elegy

he says. never once. just                   displaced
for all his seconds,
second. blamed
by his luck                                           for his place in it; his light
                                                              bedazzled bodies
at the endless memorial.
this cannot be life nor light nor
should we name it love,

                he says, all this stark binary of quark & absence
that decor the present day - nevermind
this vast vast and undying vast.
just grant me, voyeur gods drunk of free will, the winning
torch,         crown me for a few seconds with its powerful
smoke, i need its black           heir in me reigned
                        by the quantum leaps in me,
the freedom of unknowing if whoever i be
      will be, at least some parts, conserved                 by a law for once,
yes,

            ‘he’ aflame until renamed; prettied founding new claim,
braving shame, all the gust of its rapture now braves him;
now twenty sheer autumns of hunger for the living
body ‘he’ be - might, just now, be
coronated to free incarnate
remarkable, split, scissored of mother to beauty,
anew, inside the wax. flesh unburdened by vessel
                    might coax not blood but,
from it, lilacs named duality or dust to dust,
or Crispus Attucks tucked beneath bullets berating
inside Tamir Rice, unsheathing sheets of tiny pale
flag until here now. debunked history
embalmed each ‘boy’, each pronoun pronounced dead
from some old made-god’s curious
war. all for a forced-here answer.
candles at the vigil, before the wake, cogitate
    whose is ‘he’ itself?
                     & now that the Union has won
                   the war & Crispus is no longer named
property, ornament, a Christmas tree braving hell
                   for two Winters, would “he” be becoming
for its first
                   time since creation?

                   umpteenth & abandoned. ‘boy’, yes, would be
                   becoming some stone but for once,
                   more human posthumous, scorched deathless as a moth
glory calls                    - in stone wherein,  inside typos here, you
misspelled rise. & wrote rest instead, in peace. lord knows why
we spoke                             of peace inside singed bodies but
                                              now a mossy knoll
                                              with bodies in it
                                              knows better...

you know what they should
have chiseled instead?

                                                               the fellow
                                                               candle at the wake
                                                               said,   if you love them,
                                              if you’re proud of them,
                                              if you believe them,
                                              tell them
, in a stone.
tonight. before certain vigils, you know,

visit.

Trace Howard DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books 2018) and editor of Scholastic's Best Teen Writing of 2017. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on BET Next Level, Billboard, Blavity, NPR's The Takeaway, and also resides in literary homes: Anomalous Press (fka Drunken Boat), Entropy Magazine, Split This Rock!, The Other Side of Violet, Best Teen Writing of 2015, & the East Coast Voices Anthology. As he navigates 2018, through perserverating language, Trace aims to blur the lines between the narrative arc and what is percussive.

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