for Sandra Bland
They say in the mugshot
you are dead. That you are lying
on the floor, your hair spread down-
ward. Your collarbone swollen.
Your eyes vacant.
That the curve of your body is arching
from the utilitarian grey. That you
are another cause for war.
We tell the world to speak your name.
But there are others who see your wings.
A black beating, building beneath the distance
in your eyes. A moment from breaking the shocking
orange swallowing your sallow skin.
And for the tiredness of death we don’t want
to believe in the stiffness of your body being moved
to position. Because the truth can never be that cruel.
And even at the far edges of life there has to be some
fairness. Because even nightmares are dreams and believing
this cruelty is nothing short of madness.
Is nothing short of normal.
So we believe in the power of flight and in the shifting
of your body to bird.
A starling iridescent.
By Athena Dixon
Athena Dixon is Founder and Editor in Chief of Linden Avenue Literary Journal. Her poetry and creative non-fiction has appeared in Compose, Pluck!, This!, Blackberry: A Magazine, and For Harriet among others.
She writes, edits, and resides in Philadelphia.