Selma’s Sun

Selma’s Sun by Hakim Bellamy

I mean no disrespect to Willie Mae and Eddie Lewis,
having sacrificed their third born
to the collective romanticization of a country

who never really loved him anyhow.

Just like Martin Luther and Jesus Christ
eventually deified by those who’d assault

or assassinate them.

A witting and willing sacrifice for peace.
I beg your pardon,
because for the purposes of this poem

I need his parents to have the names
Selma and Troy.

Two Alabama towns 86 miles apart.
Son of the south with heaven in his heart
amidst the hell on earth surrounding him.

Black boy with the audacity to understand
God sent him to save himself.
Save his hometowns and endanger himself,
to give other Black homes a chance at a normal life.

To give other Black towns a chance at a normal life.

Put his body on the all the lines.
Picket. Color. Front.

Put his body in the way.
Bridge. Housing. Bus.

Put his body on display.
Lunch. Counter. Guts.

Showed a generation that it takes more heart
to take a beating
than to throw a punch.

He was a different kind of tough.
Bronze. Marble. Granite.

A survivor.

The eyewitness left alive to testify
about this country’s miscarriage of us.

A walking, talking monument
to the legacy we’d inherit.

And one day, just like that…
Selma’s sun would be gone.

Still warm,
a horizontal history on wheels.

The requisite Congressional flyover,
The unprecedented National Museum of African American History drive-by

for tha culture.

Accessioning himself into the collection,
into the DNA of a country

on his way out.