16th Street Neighborhood Protest

16th Street Neighborhood Protest

16th Street Neighborhood Protest 1920 1280 Danielle P. Williams

At 4:50 we carried the
drums to the front of the house

We lined the congas like armor
Sat tall and proud behind them our

palms messaging to the cow skin heads
The piercing pops and slaps the

heated hymns of our revolution
It felt as if our ancestors willed the beats themselves

By 5:15 the rain came
we stopped our rhythms ran the drums

inside so that they wouldn’t be
doomed to ruin like the rest of us

We joined the others kneeled curbside in the
pouring rain every neighbor at the tips of their

lawns yelling to the passing cars pumping their fists
pumping their signs in the air high as if

they thought God could read them from 16th Street
and the church bells were supposed to ring at 5:45

in solidarity but they didn’t
and we didn’t much care for long

America was still going to hear our songs
our cries we shook bells and punched the sky again

and again because our lives depended on it

Header photograph © Nick Norris.

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