I envision a Just America.
I envision cities that don't lock in
Black and brown people, and lock out justice.
I envision neighborhoods without blue-badge
patrols rounding up free labor.
I envision protectors making peace deposits.
I envision police opposing brutality
and foot patrollers serving as moonlit guides.
Once my enslaved ancestors dreamed of freedom,
once my elders dreamed of owning land,
once my people dreamed of voting,
so, I am working on my visions.
I let these thoughts gather
into full-fledge dreams, I let dreams
expand into full-fledge visions,
and let the visions grow and disperse
like the diaspora of my people —
like millions of monarch butterflies
like a migration, like a mighty movement.
Let these visions wash over and overtake
the videos of Chauvin pressing
out George Floyd's lifeline ...
Overtake Breonna waking to die to police bullets,
overtake the long list of police killings:
Michael Brown, ashé; Eric Garner, ashé;
Jamar Clark, ashé; Philando Castile, ashé.
Overtake, overtake, overtake ... ashé, ashé, ashé ...
Wash over these inhumane structures,
with every step, uproot seeds of hatred,
with every march, cleanse the land of barriers,
with every tumbling stature, renew the soil for rebuilding.
Create a Just America. □
Poet Angela Shannon is an associate professor of English at Bethel University. "A Moment of Silence" invites members of Minnesota's theatrical, musical, artistic and literary circles to reflect on this troubled summer. It can be found at blackmnvoices.com.