Wednesday Poem

Breaking & Entering

Only beasts are supposed to hibernate.
But this brother has been lying there
for years. Truth isn’t a news headline.
Between the lines lay his body, between
brush strokes
his soul ascends doing those things
portraits rarely capture:
giving life, giving face, serving.
A Black man’s body
on display hangs in a museum.
He appears wrapped in a bed sheet
covering his private parts as if
he was a sexless Christ,
as if his private parts made him prey,
or as if both prey and Jesus were one in the same.
But perhaps it’s just respectful to cover
a dead man or at least to cover where he may have been
broken into. Praise to the angel who gave
him wings of canvas and gesso paint—
a better burial than the other brothers got,
those over there, just left on the street.

by Darrel Alejandro Holnes
from Split This Rock

Sleep by Kehinde Wiley: Oil on Canvas: 2008