Matter of Time

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse, and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”
–M.L.K.

Each and every day, leaving home with
guilt screaming from your pigment,
like the sight of blond hair provoking,
justifying knees hitting pavement,
pants dropped, privates inspected,
and the prospect of a bullet
for any protest.

A malignant matter, a psychic tumour
evolving to a softball orange,
of a kind that borrows ever more
greedily from the branch,
until the tree itself rots.
And no more than a plaintive whisper
permitted to prove your civility.

The easy, empty moral that any life, all lives
matter shatters all-but-silently
against this matter of time.

First, a matter of simple property.
Of three-fifths human,
thenceforward and forever free,
separate but equal,
content of character,
mandatory minimums.

Now, a matter of simple justice still
never so swift as that terrible sword.

 

(c) Michael Quentin Abraham, 2017.

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