A Poem by Lauren Dotson

By Lauren Dotson

it’s raining at seven thirty dark. i’m crying in public at my pwi and


all you can do is stare.

the street lights reflect off the sleek asphalt 

and slick oil,

a mother and her children idle nearby, 

a bike nearly runs over your foot, 

and all you can do is stare.


i cried in public at church once

and my mother cried with me. 

singing something divine

stomping her gospel feet 

under a devoted god spell 

fanning herself with a damp tissue.

and jesus cried with me 

loved my water so much that he laid me back in my puddle 

and deemed the salt something holy. 


i cried in public at a bookstore once

and they offered me a story. 

the fiction shared my burden but

it didn’t speak.

i made it’s ink bleed 

a dripping noun left to dry

a tear trapped in the spine 

a hard cover turned soggy. 


i cried in public on the moon once 

surrounded by a galaxy as black as me 

surrounded by stars made from collided everythings. 

my tears fell up

returning to my pupils,

they fell up

pixels of a rainbow, 

fell up

remembering the last time they were truly weightless, 

something like an elderly dandelion,

a droughted womb,

a fertile afrofuture. 


yet, for some reason  

when i cry in public at my pwi 

all you can do is stare.

as if your paying me attention

is paying reparations,

as if my tears mean i am melting,

mean i am made of the same 

shit as you, 

mean i am. 

and that’s a threat, 

and that’s a promise.