by Paul Hooker

Your stories fill my eyes and ears:
your blood is on my hands
and the hands of those both like
and unlike me.

Perhaps we are not friends. Too much
unknown lies between us, untold tales
of hidden hurts and heartaches.
Hollow trust can bear no weight.

We are not allies. You see in me
everything you rail against:
the security of privilege, the calm
of comfortable distance.

So I will be your witness. I will see
when you are afraid, or filled
with rage, or broken and alone.
You are not alone.

I will testify that your words
are true, your cause is just,
your war is righteous although
it is not mine to wage.

  • Note: This poem was circulated via my Facebook page a few days before appearing here. I am grateful to the many of you who responded to it there, both appreciatively and critically.