Fall 2016 (Volume 20, Issue II): 20th Anniversary Issue




Resisting sleep. Jesus didn’t resist arrest.
Would he have been shot in a traffic stop?
His hair like wool, his feet like burnished brass.
Maybe he wasn’t actually black, but certainly brown.
He came in on the clouds, dead, speaking
to John with his two-edged tongue—
Fear not. Write the things which thou hast seen
and the things which are, and the things which shall be.
Maybe I’m just testifying my white shame, but the visions
in my head trouble me. I tell my brown sons the truth.
Their minds are busy arranging race, arranging God—
Is daddy made of God, too? If you lie to God,
will you go to jail?
You should tell your white sons
and daughters truth, too. Those who come to me,
those who say to me, race isn’t an issue in our home.
We don’t even talk about it. We don’t see color
: You
need to tell your children something. Read history
to them. Don’t let them grow ingrained with belief
that racism doesn’t exist. When they’re older and angry
when someone suggests that it exists,
That will be your fault. Don’t be defensive when I say
this. Take it in. Jesus said he’d wash us
of our sins in our own blood. But please stop
all this bleeding. All night I can hear America’s hands
furiously typing on phones, keyboards, scribbling
on the page. And those who have lost it are picking up
guns and ropes, turning keys to hell and death.
With each headline, my heart inches down
toward my guts. Still awake, Jesus nervously
twirls the seven stars in his right hand.

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