Betrothal

 

“He loved, beneath all this summer transiency, to feel the earth’s spine beneath him; for such he took the hard root of the oak tree to be; or, for image followed image, it was the back of a great horse that he was riding; or the deck of a tumbling ship – it was anything indeed, so long as it was hard, for he felt the need of something which he could attach his floating heart to; the heart that tugged at his side; the heart that seemed filled with spiced and amorous gales every evening about this time when he walked out. To the oak tree he tied it and as he lay there, gradually the flutter in and about him stilled itself; the little leaves hung, the deer stopped; the pale summer clouds stayed; his limbs grew heavy on the ground; and he lay so still that by degrees the deer stopped nearer and the rooks wheeled round him and the swallows dipped and circled and the dragonflies shot past, as if all the fertility and amorous activity of a summer’s evening were woven web-like about his body.”

– Virginia Woolf, Orlando

No Conviction

We watch as a man is
gunned down
in cold blood,
plain as day;

We watch that man’s blood
spill from his heart
and spread,
soaking the fabric of his cotton shirt
red
as a daughter cries
and his soul leaves
his body, still buckled in.

He wasn’t reaching

With his dying breath
still trying to explain
to his killer,
a henchman for the city he loves.

We can hear.
We can see
in a rush of blood,
through the screams
as an innocent man is
torn from this life.

The truth is clear.

Justice is not blind
when a man’s skin color is the trigger
and a gold badge
sets his murderer free.

***

for Philando Castile

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.”
– Montesquieu (The Spirit of Laws)