By: Joshua Barton

the riot police

their black bodies

almost a deep blue under the south city street lamps

the white smoke and yellow charge of tear gas canisters bouncing off red brick steets

the sting in the mouth and the burn down the throat

sinuses filled with chemical cleaners and eyes outlined in dry white malox makeup

fires line west florrisant like a string of christmas candles flickering under the stars

black letters in official testimony say that the cop saw a demon that afternoon

a demon from a missouri hell

we scream that black lives matter until the chords inside become frayed by the wind

til our lungs collapse

and our blood clots on their collars.