In the legend, homeless camps are erected under billboards extolling life at conception

a man opens fire on a politicized pulpit, the pastor maskless and undefended

the charter school principal blinks, astonished and vapid, at the question: how many students receive free lunch?

No such thing as free lunch, he says.

He would know.

The bars are crammed on Sunday afternoons, tipless patrons throw darts in the dark, take shots of hypocrisy disguised as Jagermeister

pronounced perfectly because we’re all still in World War II Germany justifying our own genocides

the man on CNN proclaims that Native Americans have no culture, our heritage a melange of European values

green lawns, shiny plastic from China, fabric from Bangladesh

while senators retire with healthcare, our nation’s social workers receive food stamp benefits

our love of life extending only to those who can afford to sustain it


we roll by intersections, scanning signs but refusing eye contact, pushing buttons in our smart cars, drunk on our own opinions, the waitstaff sweeping the crumbs from our cinnamon rolls and the dregs of our mimosas into the miasma, the sinkhole of complicity, the food trap at the bottom, tugging the legs of our trousers, and we

march pantless

through the streets, wearing blue, waiting to capture the next brutality on our sweatshop phones

We bear silent witness to these things:

hyacinths budding

plastic strewn in our waterways

the outdoor thermometer, portending heat

shootings at schools, churches, massage parlors, shipping centers, shopping destinations

the pavement still bloody

the man still whispering, choking

I can’t breathe

and miraculously,

we can.



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