Unrest in Baton Rouge
Tracy K. Smith
after the photo by Jonathan Bachman

Our bodies run with ink dark blood. Or else
It pools in the pavement’s seams.

Is it strange to say love is a language
Few practice, but all, or near all speak?

Even the men in black armor, the ones
Jangling handcuffs and keys, what else

Are they so buffered against, if not love’s blade
Sizing up the heart’s familiar meat?

We watch and grieve. We sleep, stir, eat.
Love: the heart sliced open, gutted, clean.

Love: naked almost in the everlasting street,
Skirt lifted by a different kind of breeze

Image: Ieshia Evans stands before policemen in riot gear in Baton Rouge, LA July 9, 2016
( Jonathan Bachman for Reuters / Flickr )