Lives Draw Breath

(for Rekia Boyd)

In the first days

before we knew how #AllLives #AllLives #AllLives
would ring out like a social media
machine gun
aimed at the heart of those crying
#OurLivesToo! —

a friend and I exchanged impossible messages:

“Black lives matter,” I wrote.
“Yes,” her reply. “All lives matter.”

Saying: hers too.
Saying: this rainbow coalition of everyone she loves, too.

“Yes,” my echo, “yes. All lives.”

Asking: are you well are you safe are you loved.
Asking: where can rage and anguish go, when all of the air is taken. 

Today we learn again that shooting with intent
does not mean shooting with guilt. Does not mean reckless.
An off-duty cop with his gun and his fear goes unconvicted.
Which is to say, we are all convicted.
Which is to say, we are all inheritors.

Which is to say, violence is bred into the bones of this nation.

If white is more than a color
or the absence of a color

more than the color of a bone —

If my skin is more than a sheet —
I would wrap it like a blanket
I would hold it like a shield

between gunfire


a man standing on a sidewalk
a boy walking off a sidewalk
a girl sleeping at her grandmother’s
a woman hanging with her friends

and my friend’s young children too

and all

breathing air under threat
from those who have learned

not all belong to
the #All.

black women too_n-REKIA-BOYD-LAWSUIT-large

[image via]

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