They tell us to memorize it

write it under rolled sleeves
or elsewhere cops won’t search 
a bail hotline in case we get arrested
then they lead us in singing
The Garner Family Protest Song
while the sharpie dries on 
our forearms
Day two is spiritual
like the whole city is attending revival
At one point the hum of a drone
waltzes over us
and we 
all at once
raise cardboard signs over faces 
middle fingers to the sky
But the city’s brought out the cops in riot gear
shiny new toys lined like 
strings of barbed wire outside 
the police department downtown
to remind us this is no county fair
no friendly gathering on courthouse grounds

So we get on our knees

Hands up
Don’t shoot
begging them 
Kneel with us
I find a young cop in the front row
just five feet away
and pray that he will look at me
just one look
just look at me
We are born of nearly the same fabric of time 
Maybe he will hear this if it is me
but maybe it’s because I have a mask on
and the front line shuffles to the back
a changing of shifts 
He never looks me in the eyes
gaze always a degree off
Maybe it is relief
when he takes a deep breath and rolls his shoulders back
For some reason I know it is not
a deadweight urgency
pressing into his bones