526 Seconds

526 Seconds

Stand still and listen, and the birds will chirp and sing. When the day starts, we don’t know what it will bring.

Standstill as time will count the seconds

526 seconds as the world spins

We didn’t know what it would mean for the count to begin.

How is it that this is how it ends? 60 seconds and I’m invisible in the street and

120 seconds time moves I’m on the Pettus watching marchers being beaten

180 seconds I’m in Mississippi at the bottom of a river pushing then pulling until he floats and is found Time moves. My life spins around.

240 seconds I’m trying to make myself wide shielding a mother and a child in a car with the love of their lives, just going for a ride

I can’t cover all three, but I hear his prayer, don’t hurt them. Just take me.

He did nothing wrong, but his life is gone What will his baby remember?

300 seconds I am in Texas watching a woman being pulled over I’m afraid; I’m nervous, I don’t know what might come next. I am vexed

I stay with her and watch her get booked in I know this is not fair, but I’m hoping for the win.

360 seconds I’m in Florida and I’m squeezing the Skittles pack Please, young man, not this way, go back.

What seemed like the blink of an eye had me screaming why another black mother has to cry.

Before I know it, I’m in Texas again, and she hangs. My heart pangs.

Help us, I’m crying, but no one can hear me 420 seconds I’m standing on a road in Ferguson, I run to him, but I am too late his hands are raised, don’t shoot, but safety is not his fate

I lay next to him and touch his beautiful face. I’m sorry, I whisper. Cover him up, I yell. Don’t leave him lying in this place.

480 seconds I’m jarred. I hear a cry for “Momma,” and my memory is indelibly scarred.

I’m running in Brunswick I stop to catch my breath there is an ambush, and he is shot to death

No. I scream. I can’t take any more. I hear footsteps, someone is in my home, but there was no knock at the door.

They never said who they were, and they are in my space. Shots ring out, and I realize that no place is safe.

526 seconds. Momma, I hear the cry again, and it reigns me in I’m broken that this is how it ends

I’m broken I’m not a token

black

A percentage match

I’m not a dead beat I’m being killed in the street.

I’m not ugly because of the color of my skin. The ugliness of the murderers was within

I’m not a thief; I don’t steal. Even though I have to be twice as good, I’m paid half as much; I pay for every meal.

526 seconds I can’t stand still anymore I’m not knocking either; I’m kicking down the door.

I am unapologetically black, and I wouldn’t change it for all the money in the world. My oppressors are the oyster, and I am the pearl.

The Writer

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