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

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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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