Dying while Black


For Nia Wilson.

As our children’s names are reduced to hashtags

and songs of mourning,

we become comfortable in our grief

for it is the only thing we are assured

and entitled to

in this country.

do not say her name

if you have not earned the right.

do not raise your voice to the heavens,

nor add your opinions to the chorus,

unless your skin has reached to touch fully

the pain of those

on the side of suffering.

unless you are willing

to put something of yours

on the altar of sacrifice.

whether that be your comfort,

money…time…or safety,

to help Black and Indigenous folx in this country.

Something of yours

will have to be surrendered.

something in you

will have to be resurrected.

for the insulation of privilege

has laid to sleep

the humanity of a country,

a culture

and a race.