Demetrius Burns

Re-memory & Forgets

Through the peephole of my past,
colors pinwheel and drowned sounds
float to meet my ear.

There’s a small caterpillar
scar on my knee.

My mom speculates I was pushed
by a kid—my first experience of bullying.

I was a young, nerdy, not-quite-black-enough kid in Oakland, California
wearing a Seattle Supersonics shirt.

Apparently I never wore that shit again—
maybe that explains the scar.

14 years later, I suffered a concussion and three seizures
playing ultimate Frisbee at night.

This moment left my brain permanently fishing
for ground in the drowned sound of my past.

Some call it memory loss, I call it quintessential Blackness.


Demetrius Burns is a part-time poet, full-time liar. He believes in the simple miracles of mistakes and worships at the throne of some good gelato, r&b and baseball. As a biracial American, he square dances between Swedish and African American identity to the beat of a borrowed drum.