Friday, June 3, 2016

DC Poets: E. Ethelbert Miller


After the storm
the black lives matter
sign in my yard is bent
like another black mother
leaning over a coffin.

There is a way the earth
no longer keeps us rooted
but instead buries us.

Every house a witness
to death. Every window
stained with tears.

Rain falling with wind.

Dark clouds in funeral procession.
Black lives policed under a brutal sky.

These are the days when mountains
collapse on black hearts knocked over
by a white cancer of hurricanes.

Across the street the ghost of Charlie
Parker sits on a stoop without
a horn in his hands.

Does today mark the end of music?
Is forgiveness a motherless child?
Has the time come for the Devil to rise?

Dear God, where are our black blessings?
Why is your silence darker than our skin?

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer, literary activist, and the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies. He was inducted into the 2015 Washington, DC Hall of Fame and given the AWP 2016 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature. His most recent book is The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, edited by Kirsten Porter and published by Willow Books.

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