May 31, 2020

Last night

Some of my city burned

This morning after surveying

The remains

I decided to finish painting

My dining room table: blue

And the chairs

Confederate gray

Irony not lost

The whole world is exploding

In black and white and fire

On Pentecost Sunday

No less

I think there is a sermon here

In the gaping mouth

Of a burnt-out storefront

I told my children to look

This is history

Don’t look away

Is there any room for gray?

Abstract sacrifice

Concrete strewn with glass

And looted video games

Sprawling graffiti on the sidewalk

We walk every day

“We Demand Justice”

and expletives

My children see them

I tell them they do not

Need to look away

I do not know where to stand

Between the primal urge

To retreat to safety

And the Holy call

To insist even voices

That speak in expletives

Be heard

City crews are already out

Returning the monuments

To their pristine state

Leaving the homes and stores

and streets to clean their own debris

How fast the default to whiteness

Is restored

How quickly the graffitied

“Black Lives Matter”

Is power washed away

I walk this street every day

I know this city

I already know

As I apply my brushstokes

Carefully, prayerfully

Covering every spot

There is no room for gray

Featured image by Rachel Loughlin