Divine Light

The social contract is broken 

Kimberly Jones 


When those in ivory towers, 

safe from the threat of a system 

that sees them as zeros, 

cast judgement faster than tornadoes 

spin rooftops in the air, 


burrowed deep in the bellies 

of Black boys everywhere, 

infernos ignite, crackle and Grenfell, 

like wildfires devouring captured land. 


When they regurgitate news 

of an unarmed man slain 

by police pistol, 

life force drained like muggy water 

in the bottom of a bath, 

and they don’t flinch 

because the images the news has quickly gathered 

confirm their suspicions (he probably deserved it), 


Black boys with their internal organs in flames 

breathe fire like purgatory. 


It is for our own good; 

we just don’t know it. 


For they are the lighter fluid that keeps the Earth turning, 

the redemption that keeps God 

from starting all over again. 


They see with such clarity; 

their ends are nothing 

but a surplus of greys and off-browns, 

hutches for houses 

tucked in the parts of the city 

no one wants to see. 

These hot-bellied Black boys 

are the lights 

and the colours 

and the comfort, them and their kin. 

Without them the borough is all weeds and no trees. 


So when these Black boys breathe fire 

from the tops of their voices 

like town criers in each corner of the city, 


I say 

let them, 

let them 

rise from the shattered glass of the shop windows, 

laid bare on the floor glistening 

as the sun prisms through them. 


When those in ivory towers, 

safe from the threat of a system 

that sees them as zeros, 

ask about broken glass 

but not broken families, 

because they think we have a propensity to be lifeless at the 

blast barrel end of a gun, 

I see you, my raging lantern brothers. 

I promise you, 

I get it. 

Divine Light - from That Day She’ll Proclaim Her Chronicles (Burning Eye Books, 2021), © Muneera Pilgrim 2021, used by permission of the author.

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