After August 12

CharlottesvilleBy Rev. Neal Halvorson-Taylor, lead pastor of Grace Church | Red Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia, a deeply rooted, ​boldly inclusive, and fully committed to the well-being of the earth and all living things

What if the dust does not settle
From the battle,
When unleashed
Sticks and stones and words
Beat and bruised and tore open
The skin, bones, heart?
Do we breathe its particles?

What if the blood on the streets
Mixed with rain, dried by the sun’s rays,
Blood that races through excited veins,
Deep red, at the center of all this muck—
Does this blood still flow through the heart?

What if those shamed, those guilty,
Those who hid behind curtains,
Those who hid behind shields, guns, vitriol,
Those who stood fast until they didn’t,
What if they let go?

What if the story we learned—
The one we committed to memory
And celebrate with parades,
Flags and fireworks and burgers—
What if it alters the past
And ignores the dust and blood and hiding?

What if the sticks, stones, words
Shatter that story
And begin a new one
That tears open our hearts?

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