Aracelis Girmay

Night, for Henry Dumas

Henry Dumas, 1934-1968,

did not die by a spaceship

or flying saucer or outer space at all

but was shot down, at 33,

by a New York City Transit policeman,

will be shot down, May 23rd,

coming home, in just 6 days,

by a New York City Transit policeman

in the subway station singing & thinking of a poem,

what he’s about to eat, will be, was, is right now

shot down,

happening yesterday, happened tomorrow,

will happen now

under the ground & above the ground

at Lenox & 125th in Harlem, Tennessee,

Memphis, New York, Watts, Queens.

1157 Wheeler Avenue, San Quentin, above which

sky swings down a giant rope, says

Climb me into heaven, or follow me home,

& Henry

& Amadou

& Malcolm

& King,

& the night hangs over the men & their faces,

& the night grows thick above the streets,

I swear it is more blue, more black, tonight

with the men going up there.

Bring the children out

to see who their uncles are.