My Arms Are Empty: A Song of Lamentation for Ahmaud Arbery

By Luke

Oh
When I saw him die
I no longer
cared about the trembling     the tears
no one walks these streets     except
the very few
                      and the solitary runners
choke me    I cannot breathe against
the rhythm sorrow beats into my
throat

             I moved into the morning and I will
sit against this tree
                                 seven days     they say
seven days of tattered shirts    I no longer
care   let the holes be seen   seven
times seven   I have found this place   and I
will
stay
        No   I cry  and  no  I whisper
and no one
                    cares that I am
become the Pietà without a child
even that
                even that
                                  And I hum “Oh,
Mary,
Don’t You Weep” and she is now
                                                       here with me
saying   No   you will   you must   drain your
heart
until the others come
                                    and the others will

This tree is not shelter  not from
the devouring fire  it burns
forever  and our scars
                                     pulse
with the rage that cannot sound

when the others come
                                        I will
know that we will
                             then unclench
our swollen fingers

Our hands will drum our sorrow
into this ground
                          Yes   I see
you glance at me  yes  I am
the one who whispers each
child’s name  if I cannot hold
them to my breast  I will
hold them with my song
                                       Yes
live  child  you live
                               and this
tree and I will be the place where
no lie can live

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