Give Voice to Mourning

Give voice to sorrow and fear —
the wracking sobs at family betraying family
the shock at the chasm separating neighbors
“What will you do in the days ahead?” one asked.
“Hide in an attic,” another replied,
her eyes as wide and dark as Anne Frank’s.
Already the assaults on bodies have launched
Already hatred has been emboldened
Already graffiti has defaced stone walls
Already harassment of the “Other” has begun
When someone announces they’re coming for you,
your worry doesn’t spring from paranoia.
It’s based on the evidence of history.

Give voice to denial and bargaining —
the claustrophobic panic, desperate for a way out,
clinging to any path that might alter the outcome
“Where we live we’ll be okay,” one says.
“Who do you mean by ‘we’?” another asks.
You suppress the disorienting sense that you’ve fallen into
the opening of a dystopian novel,
calming yourself that everything must turn out okay
because the narrator is alive to recount the tale,
ignoring the blankness of the next page.

Give voice to anger and rage —
that truth and kindness mattered so little
that vitriol poisoned the community well
“They will try to use your goodness against you,” one said.
“And rely on your reasonableness
to accept the unacceptable,” another added.
Retain your goodness and your reason
but always keep sight of the larger picture
and the deeper values calling to you.
Let your passion for justice burn but not consume.

Give voice to acceptance and hope —
this is where we are
this is our new reality
“For some,” said one, “the world we awoke to on November 9th
was not much different than the one we’d been living in.”
“Except,” said another, “that more people were woke to it.”
Already organizing is taking place
Already creativity and solidarity are sending out tendrils
Already resistance and resilience are storing themselves up
Already signs of love are picking up speed
When someone announces they’re coming for you,
you find your people
you find your fearlessness
and you

A person's hands are bound together behind their back with plastic zip-ties, and a police officer's holster, with more zip-ties, is in the frame.
Oceand and sky in the background. A person's long hair covers their face, and a windblown scarf or blindfold covers their eyes.