The Principle of Inertia

Shavahn Dorris-Jefferson
| poetry


On my walk I see in a matter of seconds an empty can of Arizona iced tea a dead black bird and a white man smiling at me from the driver’s seat of a passing car none of this means anything but I am thinking of Zimmerman at the time and black lives and if they matter and the weight of lives and matter and I begin to feel my own weight how I take up space the volume of my hair the virtual impenetrability of my eyes the tenacity of my skin the curve of my backside pulled down by an invisible gravitational field yet I continue to walk in the same direction to get away from the bird as if I cannot stop as if it isn’t actually dead as if I’m scared it will get up and fly as if we could possibly occupy the same space at the same time

Shavahn Dorris-Jefferson’s poetry has appeared in The Baltimore ReviewRío Grande Review, and Sugar House Review, among others. She is a recent graduate of the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s an English instructor and lives in Joliet, IL.

Self-portrait as Bower Bird