A boy looks directly at the camera, covering his neck with his hand
Bromberger Hoover Photography / Getty

Black Flamingo

A poem for Wednesday

Learned today that flamingos can live up to seventy years.
I gasped at the fact, thinking about a bird, pink and slender

and older than my parents, out there somewhere preening
its coat of feathers, or sifting through a lake for food,

a flock of them flying southeast, their bodies against the sky
like a postcard.

Meanwhile, several states from here, another Black twenty-something
who could’ve been me, but wasn’t for no reason other than chance,

was killed in his sleep,
his name against the TV like a Wednesday.

What does it mean when I wish us all the lives of birds?
Don’t we deserve a vibrant life? A colorful life?

A life where we can strut into the water
wearing our years like a gown?