As Told By A Child


I am not sorry, I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed. I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did.
-Dylan Roof


you used to think the number 9 was special
like if you saw it you would feel you got
the candy from the machine, the present
& getting to stay up later before bed
& when you are a child you think childish thoughts
& you feel safe & you think benediction
is like the soul train line only for jesus
& you want to go to church
not just cuz of candy in sunday school
but because you get to use your voice
as an instrument for god
& you are young
& you think god is directing the choir
& you imagine yourself god’s favorite singer
& you open your mouth
so wide you feel
god can see your heart


you hear that your number 9
is now a way to describe merciless death
& you don’t feel like you can
make a way out of no(way)
you understand what the grown folks mean (now)
by no ways tired but you are fatigued
& you call on your faith like you call your mama
when you want to know what’s for dinner
& you don’t hear any(thing) back this time


you decide you will trust—you will lay your little hands
on your community
& make change
& that is the only thing
that makes sense when 9 people woke up
& prayed
& 9 people are now being prayed (for)
god bless the child that’s got his own
& you want your own answers
you want to ask dylan roof
if he ever sang in a church choir
if he ever sang so loud god could see his heart

Last updated September 27, 2022