We’ve always thought of last
breath reaching out of
ours on whatever could be seen.
——— was here. Signed
classroom notes with our names
also known as, better known as, forever
known as. Please save me
from myself, for ever is there
an us worth saving. And all the names
worth saying. A child they call
Ever. Allow me, my fear. My brother
is thirteen and won’t always be.
Threat turns us. I want to go on
forever. The way Medgar Evers.
Nina says freedom means no fear.
I am a pool of what ifs, but
why nots ground me. Name all
the black babies Ever. A friend
writes me, signs off
As Ever, ———.
MALCOLM TARIQ is the author of Heed the Hollow (Graywolf, 2019), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Georgia Author of the Year Award, and Extended Play (Gertrude Press, 2017). A 2020-2021 resident playwright with Liberation Theatre Company, Malcolm lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he is the Programs Manager at Cave Canem, a home for Black poetry.