February 3, 2014
by Kamilah Aisha Moon

after the news of the dead whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you 
--W. S. Merwin

A blanket of fresh snow 

makes any neighborhood idyllic. 

Dearborn Heights indistinguishable from Baldwin Hills, 

South Central even-- 

until a thawing happens and residents emerge 

into the light. But it almost never snows in L.A., 

and snows often in this part of Michigan-- 

a declining wonderland, a place not to stand out 

or be stranded like Renisha was. 


Imagine a blonde daughter with a busted car 

in a suburb where a brown homeowner 

(not taking any chances) 

blasts through a locked door first, 

checks things out after-- 

around the clock coverage and the country beside itself 

instead of the way it is now, 

so quiet like a snowy night 

and only the grief of a brown family (again) 

around the Christmas tree, recalling 

memories of Renisha playing 

on the front porch, or catching flakes 

as they fall and disappear 

on her tongue. 


They are left to imagine 

what her life might have been. 

We are left to imagine the day 

it won't require imagination 

to care about all of the others.  


Copyright � 2014 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Used with permission of the author.

About This Poem 

"So I'm thinking about these kind of tragedies in particular, here and now...this dangerous root our country still struggles mightily to pull. The nature of empathy vs. sympathy, the former requiring a vulnerability that's hard for many people to risk. And the illusory nature of snow--how this word is also used to describe someone who's been duped, and the cold truths often covered beneath it."

--Kamilah Aisha Moon

Most Recent Book by Moon

(Four Way Books, 2013)
Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  

Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of She Has a Name (Four Way Books, 2013). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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