Large crowd of protestors

this time, we stay silent

like justice at the edge of the world:


we tell ourselves that blood is just blood,

that if we bound each other in history,

history will suffocate the memory,

and memory will suffocate the misery.


“we’ll deal with it later.”


we'll deal with our shadows bleeding down

our tongues to haunt us, our past thick with

excuses to keep us whole, our voices threaded in

silence to protect us.


this time, we stay silent


but when does later become too late

and when does history become some unjust mystery

as we flee from the pleas,

our heartbeats like a eulogy


for families across the shore,

for generations caving in on themselves like a heart attack,

for all the narratives we’ve locked inside our borders.


this time, we part our lips


the way underdogs do,

the way children speak but aren’t heard,

the way families cry out names but are torn apart anyway,

the way little girls scream but are still hostage in their bodies.


we part our lips the way we’re taught to

before our words go out like a housefire.

as if that is even enough, as if anyone

ever listened to anyone anyway.


this time, we speak


the way challengers do, because the only way to

“deal with it later” is to deal a deck of blood,

and the only way to get everyone

to listen to everyone in every way

is to speak first.

United States of America