Selma, AL

I am a reporter

Trying to find the words

To depict with blood stained lips

The modern day

Garden of Gethsemane before me

Hundreds of little Christ’s who are

Singing this little light of mine

Kneeling before white men

Let it shine

For a crown of thorns

Let it shine

Immanuel, the first in line

Let it shine.

I am a protester

Belief begetting belief

I press on

Like the woman who was bleeding for twelve years

this war has gone on far too long.

Among saints

my feet tire

yet my soul rests.

Jehovah Shammah, He goes before

In the gospel hymns we sing

in the offerings we lay at His feet:

security, prosperity, normalcy.

But that’s a hard truth to cling to

When my enemies

who I’m commanded to love,

Beat me to bleeding

abandon me to suffering

demean me to nothing.

Anger awakes

but hope fights tosing it to sleep

And I confess to the Great Almighty,

This-

This battle of my flesh and spirit

is the one killing me.

Because I want my hands to be bloody

but not from catching my fall on the street

And I make myself believe

that I’d rather sleep in a cell

than my own sheets

But instead this shield of faith goes before me

protecting me from my adversaries

But more importantly

protecting me from myself.

So I press on

behind Jehovah Shammah

Afflicted, but not crushed

perplexed but not driven to despair

persecuted but not forsaken

Struck down but not destroyed

on Christ the Solid Rock I stand

His life, death, and resurrection.

I am a white girl

My lament fifty years late

I don’t have the right to mourn

with the ache of fresh budding grief

For what does any of this mean to me?

For I have never felt the unceasing burn of my skin’s betrayal,

covering the internal body that makes me equal

with those who slay me

I’ve never been afraid of what a policeman’s hands could do to me

with their white man authority

And I only watch war through the safety of a screen

Remembering the taste of red iron from once upon a time

When I fell and broke my nose as a child

an injury fit for adolescence

unlike those I watched in black and white:

casualties of hate

branded on the skin of fellow Americans-

Hell, forget Americans,

Fellow HUMANS

From inhuman hands that must have been starved of holding.

But were they?

For I know they were raised by people like you and me

Mothers and fathers who went to church every Sunday

Gave their tithe,

Dressed their best,

So what was the difference?

I can’t help but feel sorry for them

Because they must not understand

That pivotal moment in the Garden of Eden

When Adam first opened his eyes,

Seeing his reflection in the ocean of living water,

Man made in His image,

Imago Dei.

I can’t help but feel sorry for them

Because the when they look down

They can only see skeletons,

Walking in the valley of the shadow of death

Their souls hardened

To the abundance of life found amidst creation.

I don’t know if I’ll ever comprehend it,

But I beg God,

By the grace of His spirit

To let me never fall into it-

That valley of bones my ancestors called home-

And by the grace of God,

I will never smell the stench of it.

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