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  • Writer's picturevilmablenman

Take a Deep Breath

This week we held our breath for the George Floyd murder verdict. Seems like we've been holding breath for years, for many reasons: racial injustice, the ruin of the planet, the raging pandemic. ...

This week as I waited for the verdict, as I watched the funeral for Daunte Wright,

I reflected on the noun, "breath" and the verb, "breathe."

I began to be intentional about taking deep breaths. I'm beginning to breathe. Are you? Join me right now. Take a deep breath. Take another. There. That's better.

Below is a poem that flows out of the week's breath work.

Taking Breaths

She buried him today, Thursday.

Another Black one not breathing now.

Not after speaking to police politely.

Not after he’s told:

Get out of the car!

But according to the phone’s

recording, he did not say:

I can’t breathe.

There was no time to repeat that mantra.

Only scuffling and fumbling and calling

for a taser. But a taser is not what made

red blood leak from a Black boy’s body.

They gathered today, not far from the place

where Floyd finished his race, resting

his face on the ground. Breathless.

Today a white coffin is closed and carried

as another mother takes breaths between

sobs. Breaths between steps.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. ...

We breathe, we grieve

We grieve, we breathe.

That’s how we climb the hill.

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