Reflections at a Vigil

This reflection is part of a collection of responses to the theme: “The View from Here.” 

By Alexander Solomon

How do I speak

of that pain –

of that pain – over there –

to my left

of two Black women, hardly twenty years of age, who held each other

forehead to forehead

hot tears streamed down each other’s necks and evaporated

before they reached her shoulders.

.

She asked her to hold in that anger

once again – hold your tongue

this vigil is silent

though a white man with cheeks as red as the truck he drove

slapped you across the face with the n- word

hold your tongue

this vigil is Silent

with a capital “S”

like a snake in the grass

like a cadence before a crescendo

the vibrations of the vocal chords

misplayed like some devilish violin – “I can’t breathe.”

.

And I was mad

Oh, I was mad

For two reasons, I’ll tell you –

One, a selfish confession

the other a shroud-veil whisked away from some gilded mirror:

.

I saw these two women sip from a cup of pain the taste of which my tongue will never know –

and I am only a voyeur to this empathic blockade

this realm of unknowing, and of never-knowing.

Their tears, too, I will never know, though their tears know me well –

.

How, you ask?

.

Because that horn-blaring, curse-spitting, self-masturbatory, pile of pestilence,

who screamed, red-faced, at the top of his lungs

to ensure every scab was ripped off before any wound had the chance to heal –

.

Well –

.

He looked a hell of a lot like me.

.

.


Alexander Solomon is a third-year MDiv and co-editor of The Prophet. His foci of research include psychoanalytic theory, liberation theologies, and the intersections of anti-racism and anti-capitalism.

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