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What if it were you?


I woke yesterday with tears in my eyes. At first, I didn’t realize why, being in that place between sleep and awake. Then the memory of my dream came screaming back to me and tears started again. I was seeing a close-up of a knee on a neck. A clothed knee on a dark brown neck. Then my view widened and the face I saw was not the face of George Floyd, the man who has been all over the news the past week. It was the face of a man I love, admire and respect. It was the face of a beautiful, intelligent, strong, caring black man. A man who raised three children and cares for hundreds of others in the education system. A man who changed my life and has changed so many others as well. My mind and heart were reeling. Losing that man in my life would break me in ways I don’t even want to think about. After thinking and crying through what my mind imagined, words swirled around in my poetic brain. I know there is no way to truly put any of this into words. I simply wanted to express what I would think, feel and do if it had been him under that officer’s knee and hopefully, help give us a little different perspective.

What if it were you?

Forced face down

Cheek crushed against the concrete

Knee blocking your airway

Words calling for help

Begging for the one who gave you life

What if it were you?

Pushed into the dirt

Restrained by someone meant to protect you

Not able to breathe

Immobilized by fear

Crying out for help without getting it

What if it were you?

Demeaned while crowds watched

Pressed harder into the ground

Helpless to move

Unable to speak for yourself

Videoed by strangers while you died

If it were you…

I’d be pissed as hell

I’d weep in mourning

I’d scream for justice

I’d beg people to hear

Try to make them understand

You deserved respect

You deserved love

You deserved hope

You deserved care

You deserved honor

You deserved life

If it were you

I couldn’t be silent

Thankful it wasn’t you

I won’t be silent

So next time

It won’t be you

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