This isn’t Keith Moon driving his limo into a hotel pool.
This isn’t Freddie Prinze dead from Russian roulette.
This isn’t corpses being exhumed from Detroit cemeteries
by white people too afraid to go into the city.
This is the grit and elbow-grease of your foremothers.
The nights you stayed up listening to Bad Religion.
This is Cassius Clay throwing his gold medal in the Ohio River,
Walt Whitman finding a pile of human limbs under a tree.
This is your uncle dying of liver failure.
He slowly gets out of his off-white Cadillac,
walks over to the passenger door
and opens it for his wife
just like he’s done for the last 35 years.
Listen. Stars are dead by the time we see them.
It doesn’t mean they shine any less bright.

Originally published in Concho River Review, Fall 2014