Wednesday, March 16, 2016

O, Give Me Little Time to Pray

For Maurice A. Richards, 11 years old.
From East St. Louis. Killed, March 9, 2016

“In the future, these are to be a sign among you.
When your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’”
--Joshua 4:6

From the river bring six
stones   and set them in the place
where he was found
                                          let the old
women find their heart-cry   and lament
his finding
                       the old men  shall break
branches from the trees and cushion
his body  with the new  green leaves

do not bring the children
                                                    not one
              all is prepared
                                            then say
to all assembled    Bring the sacrifice

Let each one caress the stones   with
cold hands    and bleeding eyes
                                                             It is
Our heart that has been left to die
Our dream     that was   crushed by
the machine that the darkness shields

Write his name
                              In sorrow
write his name
                                on these   and every

for all to see
                           because he
was never seen until
                                          too late
for us to know
                              how our darkness
condemns us
                               if we do this
we were told
                        your hearts will
live again   and gain time
                                             to learn
to see


another sacrifice

is found
                                                                16  March  2016
[Maurice A. Richards, age 11, was struck by a hit-and-run driver, during the night of Wednesday, March 9, 2016, near the site of Post Place and State Street, in East St. Louis, Illinois. After he was struck he lay in the street, while traffic drove past him, until two motorists stopped. Ms. Willie Beard, one of the motorists who stopped, said that when she saw the driver in front of her stop suddenly, “she saw him go over to something in the road and then heard him scream: “’This is a baby! This is a baby!’”  Ms. Beard and the first driver stayed with Maurice Richards, holding him, until he was transported to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Maurice Richards died an hour after he was admitted to the hospital. (From the story in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 11, 2016, A1.)]