threnody by Risë Kevalshar Collins

january full orange moon hangs
close enough to eat dark earth this
year of lockdown bloodshed keening
for tyree i buy orchids each

of thirty-six amaranthine
weeks invoke wild life to pull me
through february anguish i
sow feral beauty for ahmaud

on my late mother’s march birthday
dragonflies pray for the souls of
our dead breonna for mama
i plant red gladiolus for

daniel april daffodils phlox
tulips bloom i sing hymns beneath
a lemon moon deep lavender
whispers a requiem in blue

for george floyd in may the month
my son was born and died i walk cry
lament through foothills apricot
poppies coronach in memory

of rayshard harrowed june fury
steeps july black roses smolder
august weeps seven shots fired
at jacob’s back paralyzed

his children inconsolable
retraumatized they we recall
i can’t breathe a monody white
supremacy bequeaths to some

bereft geraniums bereaved
wisteria remember grieve
trayvon eric michael laquan
tamir who am i to be what’s

mine yours ours to do to give a
damn now we see know live this dirge
prescient september full gold moon
hangs close enough to eat the earth

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Emerging essayist, poet, and fiction short story writer Risë Kevalshar Collins studies creative writing at Boise State University where she has served on the editorial staff of Idaho Review. Risë earned an MSW at University of Houston. She holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie-Mellon University and was a member of the original Broadway production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf by Notzake Shange. Risë’s play, Incandescent Tones, has been produced off-Broadway and in repertory theatre. Her op-ed essays have been published in Idaho Statesman, The Blue Review, Boise Weekly, Arbiter, and elsewhere. Recently, she was featured on the Idaho PBS online series “The 180.” Her creative nonfiction was selected as a finalist for North American Review’s Terry Tempest Williams Prize. Risë’s creative nonfiction, fiction, and/or poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Indianapolis Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Minnesota Review, North American Review, Texas Review, and in Tupelo Quarterly. Rise’s writing has been supported by a grant from The Alexa Rose Foundation. You may listen to her read two of her poems here and here.