To the White Boy Who Fell Asleep in Chapel

You were only sitting

about

two or three rows

ahead of me,

but it was still

close enough

for me to tell

that you

were pretty

cute.

I thought

your blond hair

was nicely cut

and I found

the tattoo

on the back

of your right arm

kinda sexy.

I always found

Mexicans,

Asians,

and white boys with tattoos

kinda sexy.

I didn’t say anything

and sat down

quietly.  

We began

singing songs

as a whole

and it felt like

being in church.

I looked

at the back

of your head

and imagined that

you

were singing too.

I still remember

thinking about

how cute

you were.

The speaker of the day

stepped onto

the stage

and thoroughly

surprised me.

He was awake;

sharing his

testimony

and the ones

of Waco’s

people.

I didn’t know

that a man

that looked like him

could be so

passionate

about people

who are like

stereotypical me.

He spoke of

the tragedies

of how people who looked

like me

were turned away

from churches,

Movies,

Social gatherings;

something I

was already familiar with.

He spoke about poverty,

social class,

wealth,

disease:

things I’d known about

since my youth.

I remembered you,

white boy,

and wondered if

you were

on the edge of your seat

like everyone else

seemed to be.

But you weren’t.

You fell asleep.

I remember thinking

that I wanted to tap you

On the shoulder.

I wanted so badly

for you to hear,

to understand

because

the reason he was speaking

and the reason so many

don’t know

what he knows

is because

they didn’t hear.

He said

that he didn’t know

that leprosy

was still spreading.

Did you?

He said

he cried

when he saw these people.

Did you hear him

say that?

You couldn’t

because you fell asleep.

I remember wondering

what it must

be like

to be able

to sleep

as the world gives way

and the skies

begin to break.

I wondered

what is must feel like

to know that you’re

safe

in this world.

Because, you see,

you’re a

white boy.

And I am not.

You are male

and white

and safe,

I wonder

what that feels like.

He talked about the poor,

how close they were

to us

and how easy it was

for us

to be able to

reach our hands out to them.

He spoke of things

my mother taught me;

things I’d known

since I could speak

because for me,

ignorance means death.

And you?

Well,

you were sleeping.

I wonder,

white boy,

what worries you;

what  frightens you.

I wonder what excites you;

what enrages you.

I wonder

if my life

means anything

to you.

Don’t get me wrong,

I don’t know you

either,

tired white boy.

But our souls

are worth the same,

are they not?

You see,

I love you,

white boy.

Yes, because I have to,

but more so

because

I don’t know you.

I don’t know

your soul

or your faith

or your relationship

with God,

but I pray

you are my brother.

I looked at

the back

of your cute head

and wondered

if you ever

thought the same

about those around you,

or if you

just slept on it.

The speaker

stopped speaking

and we prayed.

I prayed for you.

I prayed

that you would finally

wake up,

and have a fire

in your belly;

a righteous indignation.

I prayed

my life would mean something

to you

and the people like you

who sleep

through the tragedies

of others.

The prayers ended

and we all rose

to leave,

and it took you

a minute

to realize what was going on.

You yawned

and stretched your arms;

showing off

your sexy tattoo.

I watched you turn

and look

right at me.

You looked so tired,

so bored,

so uninterested

that I wanted

to cry.

And I

left my seat

wondering,

white boy,

if you slept

this heavily

at home.

 

This poem is about: 
My community

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