Where He Lay

1.

I have seen the place where he lay.

I have walked through his neighborhood

with broken lights, dark windows, delapidated liquor stores

I have seen the children playing basketball in the street

yards from where he lay.

I’ve talked with some of his neighbors

exchanging a “evening, how are ya?” and waving gently.

What is normal anymore?

2.

Can you see the riot gear left behind?

The armored tanks in the street by the McDonald’s

that used to pour fire?

Can you hear them crying?

The mothers who wonder if their sons and daughters will come home

–from the corner store, from the birthday party, from school–

only to find their children sleeping in their beds,

but there isn’t safe either.

Do you see the words scrawled in anxious angry spray paint?

“RIP Mike Brown

“Fuck the police”

“Save us”

3.

The holy quiet descended on the dark street

damp with rain and tears

we couldn’t even hear the marchers anymore.

The place where he lay is hallowed ground

let’s erect an Ebenezer

it’s already been done

fluffy teddy bears

handwritten notes laminated to keep from getting washed away

traffic cones perhaps cover

the bloodstains now sunk into the earth, into the depths of creation

the creation is groaning

waiting to be released from this horror of

separation destruction desecration

of sacred dust.

4.

Where do we go now?

Minutes at the memorial

a  young man on a low riding bike rides past twice.

My feet are cramping from marching

from praying.

My clothes are damp with sweat and rain

but not with (never with)

blood.

These experiences are distant from me,

pigment protection.

And yet—

how do we proceed, seeing what we’ve seen?

how do we move forward, carrying what has been loaded onto our backs?

how do we continue to believe that another world is possible?

Solidarity

of mind

heart

voice

place.

“Save us.”

Save yourselves by saving each other.

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