What the Waters Say

for Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore

Swirling currents on the skin of the river say
what loss says to anguish, coming down to peep
into places where evil sleeps, giving divine air
to justice coming for the nights we spent without
your laughter, without your plans for the years,
the dreams you had of love, the righteous twinkle
of sun in your eyes, a gold promised to mothers.

One single cry of pain was all it took for the warp
to roll into the night, wake the pages of time, set
you inside the book of saints, never to be forgotten,
not in the walls of hearts braving the night sounds
of a sickness looking to unwind black folk who
grip the old South for justice, grandmothers
on porches praying in the middle of shelling peas.

In a Chicago night now in the archives of breath
there are your hands on the table of a last dinner
with friends, ears wound open to a blues rhythm.

We celebrate a stillness, beat the terror down,
away from us so you, sweet and tender, can sing
and live inside us with a peace that will not die.

@ Afaa Michael Weaver