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.
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
how could I ever explain to you
someone prayed we’d rest in peace
& here we are
in peace whole all summer