Say James Baldwin was right and white christians
only wage a dispassioned war against
this nation’s original sin. hands washed
in blood, Christ and county are left in arms
despised for their humanity. like Black
Simon—the Cyrene conscripted to bear
our Savior’s lynching tree—the God-tanned kneels
to raise the religion others disgraced.
the faithful seek just waters, while others—
he said—subsist sipping Coca-Cola
within the safe privilege of their silence.
perhaps this is why Jesus kept Black men
near His side—dark witnesses with shared skin
in the game. who know the lash, know the fight.
MEH is Matthew E. Henry, the author of Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020), and editor-in-chief of The Weight Journal. His theological works are appearing or forthcoming in various publications including The Amethyst Review, The Anglican Theological Review, Dappled Things, The Other Journal, Pensive, Perspectives, Presence, Relief, Rigorous, Rock and Sling, Spiritus, and The Windhover. His second chapbook collection—Dust and Ashes—is forthcoming from Californios Press. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education from other institutions. You can find him at www.MEHPoeting.com writing about race, religion, and burning oppressive systems to the ground.