Everyone’s Hands

Everyone’s hands are sticky with their blood;

say their names. They are our parents, siblings,

children, teachers, homeless, entrepreneurs,

adventurers, scientists, artists and friends;

they live on either side of the police line.

Some live behind bars build into buildings,

others behind bars of prejudice in their hearts

and minds; no one is free. Everyone’s hands are

sticky with their blood. You know their names, or maybe you don’t…

or maybe you don’t… Michael, Eric, Rekia, Yuvette;

say them until you begin to match their names with their faces. Alan, Shelley,

with their faces. Alan, Shelley, Maria, Oscar;

say their names until you become interested

enough to know their stories. Sandra, Trayvon,

Amadou, Sean; say their names until they roll

off the tongue easily as insults, loaded to shoot

into the heart of this injustice system. Yes,

everyone’s hands are sticky with their blood;

we watch our destruction as if from a distance,

the denial of a bullet’s indifference to skin

shining from distorted lenses,

and think how sorry for “them” without realizing

there is no them, there is only us all

in desperate need of a hug, all too afraid ask

and in that deficit too afraid to touch ourselves

lest anyone spy the bloodstains on our clothes.

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Jihan McDonald is a facilitator, counselor, writer and educator from Oakland, CA. Currently completing a Masters in Social Transformation, Jihan derives deep pleasure from the meaning of words, the reading of books, the dancing of feelings, and the naming of squirrels. Jihan greatly dislikes inequity & close-toed shoes.

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