A week of splintered thoughts and fractured feelings,
the country reeling from disease and disorder—
over a hundred thousand dead from COVID-19,
and incredible scenes of reactionary riots
spreading across the country
after the killing of an unarmed man
at the hands of the police in Minneapolis.
Buildings burned, stores looted, a president’s threat of shooting.
Stones and bricks thrown at police, patrol cars set ablaze.
News crews fired at with rubber bullets and pepper balls,
reporters and photographers bruised, bleeding, some arrested.
Instigators and agitators behind masks of a different purpose,
demonstrators linking arms to protect law enforcement,
others with no intent other than theft and destruction,
vigilantes in camo and Kevlar patrolling streets and rooftops.
Still others filled with the frustration of years, decades,
and centuries of injustice,
their voices ignored but their hearts determined
to make the change they want to be,
marching in the streets but refusing to destroy.
In one or two places, police kneeled before the crowds,
confessed aloud, asked for forgiveness.
They prayed with those who had come in hostility,
all deeply touched by this unexpected humility.
Men and women weeping together,
soft streams of tears without color.
In Wichita on the last Sunday in May,
on the First Day of a new week,
another demonstration of a better sort—
by negotiated agreement they met in a park that afternoon,
grilled burgers, ate together and talked.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called ‘the sons of God.'”