The last words
groaned out of the lips
of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray:
“I can’t breathe.”
protests for himself
before others nationwide joined with him:
“I don’t have a gun.”
Death and life
in the tongue’s power.
The Black American’s tongue lacks power
to keep its own life safe from unjust death.
from one Dr. King
lie dormant in the American soul:
“Free at last.”
In some ways
we have come so far.
In other painfully obvious ways
not that much has changed.
Can you say
words are enough
when those words spoken fifty years ago
seem so prophetic for our own moment?
I am white
and at a loss here.
There’s pressure to say all of the right things.
Where to start?
that I want to say
about my anger, my embarrassment
feels like it falls short.
“You matter to me.”
“What happened to those people was so wrong.”
What good are these words if nothing changes?
We may think
that our words matter
so far as they bring about some sort of
Sin prods us
into a corner
of silence and shadows, shushing our lips
from speaking the truth.
silence in our age
is more suicidal than criminal.
Death and life in the power of the tongue.
“Slow to speak”
remain words to heed.
We have much to learn by taking the time
concentrating, valuing, honoring,