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 –
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.