Just a Kiss

Even as he stabs her,
she wants to kiss him,
plant her purple lips on
the slick skin of his crown.

Even as he plunges the serrated
end of the flag pole deeper
into her chest, pins her to the
eastern wall of the first baptist church—
rebuilt in brick to withstand future bombings—
twists it, widens the gap in her heart,
she reaches out for him, carresses his
chiseled chin, his blue eyes cool as steel.

Maybe his fear of miscegenation
will make him angry enough
to put an end to her silent love song.

—Nortina

Charlottesville, 2017

“The light of the righteous shines brightly,
but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.”
Proverbs 13:9

Jesus tells me I am the light of this world;
so let my light shine.
There’s a glow outside my dorm room window.
I dare not go to it—
won’t be a moth to the flame.
The spirit of fear consumes me.
I cower in a corner, wedged between bed—
sheets damp with sweat—
and wall—cool to the touch.
I hear their voices rising — “White Lives Matter” —
demons behind them chanting, White is Power.
These are not lights of salvation;
theses torches seek to light crosses in front lawns,
to set ablaze nooses that string up bodies,
bodies broken like my Christ’s, and I pray—
God, why have you forsaken us?
Sealed us in a world so consumed with sin and hate
that even at high twelve noon all I see is darkness;
my own hand, extended in front of my eyes, becomes invisible.
A lake of fire flows outside my window.
Skin white as alabaster turns blacker than my own.
Hearts hardened like stone.
There’s no pumping of blood, no echo of life.
A flat beat, a solid stomp, a marching in unison,
like the rigid motions of a rusted metal machine,
like the recurring lashes of the whip.
In my corner I hide, like a lamp doused by shade.
Tested by fire, my works amount to nothing
and my world will be encased in a blackness more
cursed than the skin I wish to shed to the knocking
at my door. The devil and his angels wait for me,
beckoning with their false light
too dim to pass the crack in the threshold.
Today is the day I decide whose shame I will bear;
if I will pick up my cross and
deny my life for light’s sake.
Planted on the top floor where all can see,
I lift my covering off my Head and release
a brightness so incorruptible it expels the darkness
from my door, my window, my campus, my town—
miles away. Blinding like sun reflected
in glass, even from space.
Let it shine, I hear my Jesus whisper,
Let is shine.

—Nortina


Some words I strung together in response to the horrific scenes coming out of Charlottesville, VA this week.

Survival

I remember the message that played over the airport intercom system: “Please do not leave your luggage unattended.”

He was only in the security checkpoint line a minute. He looked to his left and right, then dropped the heavy backpack off his shoulder and walked away.

My prayer was that he was only going to the bathroom, that he would turn and ask me to watch his things so he wouldn’t lose his place in line, that he was just a student flying home for the holiday.

Others saw him walk out the front entrance, started screaming, “Bomb! Bomb!” — running for the doors. Amidst the scurrying feet, a child fell to his knees in front of the backpack, began playing with the shiny zipper. My first instinct was to scoop him into my arms, shield him with my body as the blast hurled us toward the wall . . .

 

We pray for the victims, their families when tragedy strikes, but when we are made victims ourselves, how do we survive?

I am deaf in one ear, and he won’t stop crying. Maybe he can’t hear himself either, struggling to comprehend . . .

His mother is likely dead; everyone is gone, buried underneath a town of rubble. It’s just the two of us now. We walk the Meuse in search of refuge. My body is numb in the frigid waters. It’s better this way. Not to feel the pain. Not to know that an innocent child can be blown to pieces for simply taking interest in something shiny. Not to realize that I live in a world consumed by hate.

—Nortina


visdare_3-24My VisDare entry is about 100 words over this week, but I hope you will excuse its length for its message. Thanks for reading.