Chris August

I Woke from the Dream

The day they made us
legal, I dreamed
we exchanged our
wedding bands
for a spell
to raise the dead.
My boyfriend’s hand
fell from my mine,
our bedroom echoed
with the clink
of rings against
the floor. The floor
shook, splintered
as bodies
of Black angels,
saints, martyrs
came unhooked
from the ground.
Up shot Tamir,
straight into
his Mother’s arms.
Up shot Trayvon,
Yvette, Darnisha,
Myra, Reverend Sharonda,
Reverend Clementa, Susie,
Tywanza, Reverend Daniel,
Ethel Lee, Cynthia,
Reverend Depayne,
all shook loose from the low,
low South,
up shot Eric,
big as humanity,
up shot Lamia
in the skin
she loved the most.
Up shot Freddie,
unbroken, familiar.
We didn’t care,
my man and I,
we held them,
loved them like
it was legal,
watched them go
I woke,
no upshots
to be found,
my finger
still choked
by a ring,
fingers still entwined
with my Love’s,
the ground still,
the ground unmoved
the world unmoved,
me, too dumb
to say anything
but I do.


Chris August is a teacher and writer based out of Baltimore. He travels the world performing his work and has authored the collection Loving Instruments (Sargent Press, 2013). His poetry has been featured in Hyperlexia and the anthology From Page to Stage and Back Again. He has represented Baltimore, Washington, DC and Philadelphia at the National Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry slam, which he was lucky enough to win in 2011, after which he represented the United States at the Poetry World Cup in Paris, France.