I’ve had the fortune of knowing you
the misfortune of not knowing you all too well,
at least not as much as I’d like.
After all, you were a vast army my brethren,
many who’ve been casualties of inhumanity,
the wind bearing the stench of innocent blood,
lives collapsing to a halt,
and the merciless, blood guilty sweat of their murderers,
confused prayers begging to knock on heavens gate from both sides.
And this same wind still circles my pores,
this same uncaring, vile world
that has and still is adamant that nothing happened,
just another plot of land to smooth over,
just another river that keeps on rolling,
just another massacre that was no massacre
to the people with the right colored skin opposed to colored skin.
But it’s all wrong you see or I guess it’s what you don’t see,
Brothers that could never be your own left hanging.
So unless my Brothers,
too many to count,
can be honored in this present life,
it is within my allowed present life that I carry them
not as a burden left to chop down from a tree,
collect as ashes from torture stakes,
not as human beings drowned above and beneath the floorboards
but as family I insist into existence.
And I can’t help it.
I can’t help but think of the good men you were,
the good men you were to be,
the good men you still are to me
but that is what’s considered just in the country,
in the world we share, continue to build
with no boots to hoist up from its’ straps,
no shovel to get over the mole hill,
but only the resolution of sweat calloused palms and determination to answer back.
Yes, my Brothers were,
my Brothers will always be men.
So I refuse to believe
your bodies grew cold the day you left this earth,
the same earth you had the right to stand on
but murderers, their wives, their children saw fit to smile and dine around,
helping themselves to deviled eggs as they sought to skewer your humanity.
And they still do.
How come it took me a trip to Montgomery, Alabama, decades late,
to meet you, my extended family at the Legacy Museum?
I had to face your jars of earth,
reds, yellows, browns, in between gray soils,
jars containing the last ground you fought for your life on,
grieve behind glass named William, Henry, Thomas, Unknown
and marked with the day they were taken from me.
Where were my Brothers when I was taught “the essentials” at school?
How come the majority has,
still continues to dishonor you my Brothers?
How come it what I say still holds relevance
when your murders and their descendants seek your irrelevance?
Yes dear Brothers, you’ve been left hanging, it pains me so.
your little Sister,
will preserve you alive
even if I haven’t gotten to know you as much as I would’ve liked.
You were, you are, you will always be men.
You are alive.