Charleston

charleston

Your oppressors forced you to carry a cross,
That they fashioned with their own hands
That killed your loved ones and would eventually claim you.
They made you say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”
As they mocked and spat upon you,
And persisted in nailing you to that beautiful, wretched dogwood.

Every word you spoke in that moment was precious,
We knew that life was leaving you.
The more you tried to grasp it, the quicker it left
You did not understand that the confession would not buy you any more time.
And that soon enough, the oppressors would succeed in their task
Guilt-free.

400 years of oppression and pain undone as you lay dying,
Suffocating under the weight of conquest, slavery, murder, and Jim Crow.
You became the scapegoat for a nation that did not want to be saved.
They only wanted absolution.

I mourned for us that day.

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