Monday, July 11, 2016

After These Things

"After these things, God tested Abraham." -- Genesis 22:1

"But race is the child of racism, not the father." -- Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me


"After these things"
    -- that's what the book says --

that it was "after these things"
    that Abraham
    thinking he heard a voice from God
    determined to kill his son.

And they went on,
    the two of them,

    inextricably bound,
    violently bound,

Bound together.

After these things.

And each time
    after these things happen

I think the same tired thoughts
    of grief
    and power
    and powerlessness
    and the end of useful words.

But words matter
    (or I do not)

Names matter:
    Philando Castile
    Alton Sterling

Naming matters:
    Black lives matter.

After these things
    after Orlando
    after Dallas
    when it is too late to matter 
    for the bodies sacrificed 
    to gods of hate and shame and fear

after these things
    I wonder
    if --
        without some sort of miraculous intervention
    Abraham can ever learn

to put down the knife.

To put down the gun.

And I imagine Abraham
    on his death bed
    no conversation with his son for years
    (bound, bound, inextricably and violently bound)

Praying one last time

For one last miracle

That future generations --
     inextricably bound
     rival offspring

would not wait for

    after these things. 

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