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A Prayer for George Floyd on My Brother’s Forty-Sixth Birthday

Jesus, I pictured you gathering your child
George Floyd
under your wings as he left his body
on rough grey asphalt.

The report said he was forty-six,
and I thought of my brother,
towering tall like George,
whose forty-sixth birthday is today.

I imagined a place where a big white man
with wavy brown hair like he
would be police-pinned bare-chest-down
eye-level with oil stains and cigarette butts,
his temple gravel-indented.

I have to imagine my gentle giant big brother
suffering a bony knee to his throat
and a hands-in-pockets “relax”
when he pleads for breath.

What’s make-believe for me
is you-better-believe for my human brothers
whose melanin riches make them poor
according to the story we’ve spun
based on our ability to see
.0035 percent of the light spectrum.

This tale gags
a hundreds-years nightmare scream
in the deaf presence of stopped ears.

Does your brown, scarred brow, Lord,
knit at our bleached, ignored grief
as you feel our refusal
to let through the howl for the things done
and those left undone?

Where do the pierced hands
that made spit-mud for the blind man
guide us?

Today I ask for blessings for my brother’s
forty-sixth year,
and I think of how my prayers depart
from the black mother
who pleads for anyone to guard her son
from those who obey inhuman agents
that insinuate that we are

May you smear the deep brown clay on our eyes,
the mud we’re all made from,
to see the moment when
met his mother when he called her
and, cradled beneath your wing
by your spear-stabbed side,
walked upright together into the place where
you hear their voice
and you will wipe every tear from their eyes.


  1. Elizabeth Pinard

    Beautiful Dan!

    • dancallaway

      thank you Elizabeth

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