The Common Good

Poem: The Lorraine Motel

100119-lorraine-motelas i walk toward the balcony where my hero fell,
i feel strangely drawn in
enwrapped
by invisible hands
of comfort and welcome.
hands that welcome the peacemakers of the world
"come and witness the place where a fellow peacemaker fell
and inherited the kin-dom of god."

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at once
when i look up
to the barren balcony
i see the hollow stillness
empty peace today
and running feet bounding up stairs in yesteryear

in the same breath
i see the lone wreath that hangs from the clean white balcony railing
and the fingers of Abernathy and Young pointing over the bloodstained railing
confused, angry, powerless, angry, powerless
they point --
to no one.

in the same instant
i see white flowers on the railing
and red blood dripping from the balcony floor.

peace and confusion
and the end of a movement.
peace and confusion
and the end of an era.
peace and confusion
and the end of a life.

that life was not only the Dr's.
it was the innocent life of a country
shot down on a balcony in Memphis.

that country
now well acquainted
with disillusionment -
now well acquainted
with grief
and the sudden death of prophets.

W... W... J... D... ?
what did Jesus do that day on the balcony
of the Lorraine Motel?

Jesus,
well acquainted with the grief of sudden death,
wept...

Lisa Sharon Harper is the executive director of New York Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat.

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