Types of Burns: My Twitter Feed Becomes Too Much by Taylor Byas

Black Lives Matter. We must all do what we can, one individual choice at a time, to dismantle white supremacy—in our selves, our relationships, our communities, and our institutions. Frontier stands in unrelenting support of the protestors demanding change—we send you every prayer, every bit of energy we have. Stay safe and stay healthy and stay bold.

Below, we are publishing the new poem by Taylor Byas, for a new series called Types of Burns, for Black voices who have something to say about this moment. This may be lyric essay, poetry, photography, etc. Submit your work here. We sincerely thank Taylor and every Black artist who has helped make Frontier what it is today.

My Twitter Feed Becomes Too Much

I come across pictures of two rubber bullets
nestled in a palm, their nose tips black
and rounded like a reporters’ foam-covered
mic. The caption reads These maim, break skin,
cause blindness. Another photo—a hollow
caved into a woman’s scalp, floating hands

in blue gloves dabbing at the spill. An offhand
comment in the replies—are you sure that rubber bullet
caused that type of damage?—the question hollowed
of genuine concern. The page refreshes. A black
man melts into a street curb from exhaustion, his skin
blotched with sweat and red. Protester’s hands cover

his body, and this is church. A baptism—cover
me with the blood. And there are more. Hand-
drawn threats—shoot the FUCK back­­. Police cars skinned
of their lettering and paint from the bullet-
aim of Molotov cocktails in Budweiser bottles. Black
Lives Matter markered in thick letters below the hollow

outline of the black power fist. A gas mask’s eye-hollows
glinting with tears. The page refreshes. Undercover
cops wearing matching armbands like a gang. A black
army tank crawling through city streets the way a hand
may tip-toe up a thigh. The page refreshes. A bullet
list of places to donate if I can’t put my skin

in the game protesting in the streets. The snakeskin
pattern of fires from a bird’s-eye view of DC. Hollowed
Target storefronts. The page refreshes. Rubber bullets
pinging a reporter and her crew as they run for cover,
a white woman’s reply—things are getting out of hand
punctuated with heart emojis. Protester’s shadows blacking

the fiery backdrop of the riots. Badge numbers blacked
over with tape. The page refreshes. A man skinned
by the asphalt when pulled from his car with both hands
up. A police car plowing into a peaceful crowd. The hollow
promises from white friends to “do better”—a cover-
up for how quickly they will bullet

into our inboxes and ask us to hand them the answers. Black
rubber bullets—the page refreshes—a woman’s forehead skin
split—page refreshes—a bloody hollow—refresh—take cover.




Taylor Byas

Taylor Byas is a black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is now a second year PhD student and Yates scholar at the University of Cincinnati, and an Assistant Features Editor for The Rumpus. She was the 1st place winner of the Poetry Super Highway Contest, and her chapbook, BLOODWARM, is forthcoming from Variant Lit in the summer of 2021. Her work appears or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, Glass, Iron Horse Literary Review, Hobart, Frontier Poetry, SWWIM, TriQuarterly, and others.

Close Menu