“When I’m by myself, like if I’m birding or if I’m exploring outside, I feel like I have to publicly display that I’m not trespassing or doing something sinister outside,” she said. “I feel like I have to go above and beyond so that the people who are driving by or walking by don’t think that I’m someone they need to call the police on.” –Corina Newsome, a black biology master’s student at Georgia Southern University studying birds, from CNN’s “The realities of being a black birdwatcher”
Alouette, gentille alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai.
Lark, nice lark.
Lark, I will pluck you
the song says and it shares
a list of what can be destroyed–
head and beak and neck and feathers—
anything that lets a singer consume.
We just accept those words
because we’ve heard them before
and grown-ups sang them
and cartoons played them—
it’s easiest not to question the familiar.
But the words we memorized, intentionally or not,
are a song of violence.
An innocent bird,
Innocent black birdwatchers,
A man in a dog park,
A woman asleep in bed,
A man shielding his niece,
People just trying to live,
to love, to breathe.
God in Heaven, how are we not better than this?