Blackout a finalist for 2018 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York

IT DOES KIND OF BURN. GOODBYE.*

[he was burning] and [he was trying to tell us something]
[he was on fire] and [he was trying to be objective]
["it burns"] and [he was trying to tell us] that it was burning
and [that's what it "does"] it burns [and he was trying to tell us]
"I'm on fire" [and he was trying to lessen the burn] [kind of]
[so he used the phrase, "kind of"] yes [ he was burning]
but only [kind of] like [having kind of a dream] and
[being kind of awake] like [being kind of happy] and
[feeling kind of blue] like being ["kind of"] on fire
and [he was kind of saying goodbye] and [he was trying]
to tell us [something][about][saying][goodbye] and
[he had this word] and [it only takes one word to say goodbye] and
[he was trying to tell us "Goodbye!"] and [he was burning] and
[he was kind of leaving] and [he was trying to tell us something]
and some of them heard him saying "goodbye"

First published in Boulevard, 2016.





*The final words of Jose Villegas as he was being put to death by lethal injection in the State of Texas, 2014.