summer, somewhere - Danez Smith

This week as we’ve looked at God’s vision for unity (Rev 7:9-10), we’ve also read of Jesus’s call in Luke 4 to work against the oppression that has broken that unity in order that the powerful might benefit from the status quo. Today, as part of listening well to those on the margins, we read what may be an uncomfortable poem about police brutality against blacks (“we go out for sweets and come back” is a reference to Trayvon Martin, for example). Listen for the echoes of God’s purposes, for the cries of lament, for the longing for the renewal of all things. Respond with grief and intercession.

 

summer, somewhere 

By Danez Smith 

 

somewhere, a sun. below, boys brown 
as rye play the dozens & ball, jump 

in the air & stay there. boys become new 
moons, gum-dark on all sides, beg bruise 

-blue water to fly, at least tide, at least
spit back a father or two. I won’t get started. 

history is what it is. it knows what it did. 
bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy 

color of a July well spent. but here, not earth 
not heaven, boys can’t recall their white shirt 

turned a ruby gown. here, there is no language 
for officer or law, no color to call white.

if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call 
us dead, call us alive someplace better. 

we say our own names when we pray. 
we go out for sweets & come back. 

                                                                     // 

do you know what it’s like to live 
on land who loves you back? 

no need for geography 
now, we safe everywhere. 

point to whatever you please
& call it church, home, or sweet love. 

paradise is a world where everything 
is sanctuary & nothing is a gun. 

here, if it grows it knows its place 
in history. yesterday, a poplar 

told me of old forest
heavy with fruits i’d call uncle 

bursting red pulp & set afire 
harvest of dark wind chimes. 

after i fell from its limb 
it bandaged me in sap. 

                                                               // 

you are not welcome here. trust 
the trip will kill you. go home. 

we earned this paradise
by a death we didn’t deserve. 

I am sure there are other heres. 
a somewhere for every kind 

of somebody, a heaven of brown
girls braiding on golden stoops 

but here

                          how could I ever explain to you 

             someone prayed we’d rest in peace 

& here we are


in peace               whole                  all summer 

               

                                 ///