Say Their Names (HA 95)

House Arrest

I ambled Prince Street yesterday, a pack
of food upon my back, and looking down
I noticed names somebody chalked, of black
decedents – none who wanted this renown.
I read and said the names, and stepped aside
as if I were on holy ground. My heart
and head enlarged with grief that multiplied
with each succeeding name. That block is long,
but all its length beside my plodding pace
the chalking emphasized a grievous wrong –
so many killed: our legacy disgrace.
There’s work ahead – for rights and righting claims.
The time and chalk command I say their names.

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