Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mourning the Dead

My colleague B.
has been reading slave narratives
with her class.
What hits me, she says
is that slaves eventually forgot
to mourn the dead.

We don't mourn here.

Is this what happens
when violence becomes
familiar?

Kids who tighten up their hearts
small and sharp
as a bullet
so they are always moving
not thinking
not feeling
just making it
to the next day?

And in the name of education
the test
the achievement gap
we carry on with
reading and writing
shuffling over grief
knowing if we touch it
a grenade will explode
and we will be left
with wreckage.

Even elephants grieve--
bury the bones
of the departed,
take a moment
to remember.

What do you do in a city
where 253 murders is a good year,
down from one-a-day?
We don't have time
or heart enough
to remember
but forgetting--
condemns us.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kathleen said...

man oh man. each time you write, i shake my head and hold my heart.
we don't mourn. you and b are right.
because, if we do, we open up a whole can of worms.
this post made me think of when my shorties tried to help a classmate deal with his grandfather's death.

it is scary to face the layers of grief that have been brushed away...

damn.

10:53 PM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

hi ecm, a truly sobering thought... to forget is to resign oneself completely to the inhumanity of man. mother teresa built a reputation on growing hope out of hopelessness one action at a time... your post is a beautiful reminder of the power one individual posesses to make a difference.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whew- powerful Em!

5:19 AM  
Blogger windblownbutterfly said...

I had a few free minutes and decided to spend the time delving further back into your blog, back before I discovered you for myself. It was time well spent. This posting was so moving and powerful. I'm thinking there's a book inside your mind begging to be published.

3:59 PM  

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