The rain.

Written for a collaboration with Chicago composer Shawn Okpebholo and baritone Will Liverman. Their version, including pianist Paul Sanchez, is on the album Dreams of a New Day. It’s also included in my book, The Birth of All Things.

When the reality
of racism returns,
all joy treads water
in oceans of buried

is doing
everything it can
to only swim
in a colorless liquid
of calm sea
and blind faith.

But the Lowcountry
is a terrain
of ancient tears,
suffocating through
floods of

When gunshots
made waves,
we closed our eyes,
held our breath
and went under.

And we are still
trying not to
taste the salt
of our surrounding blues
or face the rising tide
of black pain.