what words won’t put me in the ground

Isaac Pickell


if black were human
it would be already

if you were breathing
you would be all ready

for all of their bark,
if opinions were just

like assholes after all
& not the trap

doors in our dying box,
if brown were human

it would already be
clear there was not

enough for everyone,
& that not enough

was the problem
& not all of us,

scared white as human
after being reminded:

if human were enough
it would be already.



Isaac Pickell is a passing poet and Ph.D student at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he studies and teaches the borderlands of black literature. His work has recently been featured in Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Fence, Sixth Finch, and Social Text, and his chapbook everything saved will be last is on presale over at Black Lawrence Press.

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