A Man

A man—
Wrapped in the cellophane
A certain slice
Of the linguistic pizza
Refers to as skin—
A man, shall I say,
Whose basal layer
Of epidermis—

You must realize, though,
Prior to proceeding,
This epidermal envelope
Is thinner than the
Thickness
Of an envelope,
More precisely
The thickness of
A sheet of paper—

Not construction paper,
Mind you—but more ordinary
Paper, like the bill of sale
For a negro, or a coroner's report
for a twelve-year-old boy;

Oh, that basal layer—
That slightest fraction
Of that paper thin
Wrapper—
That one-twentieth
Of the thickness of a
Sheet of paper

Determines the color
Of a man
Determines the living span
Of a man
Determines the value
Of a man
To those eyes
Who are so weak
They cannot see
Beyond a fraction of a fraction
Of a being

Crafted in the image
Of God,
Animated with the breath
Of God,
Granted a seat in heaven
In the presence of God
But not good enough for
My neighborhood
My malls
My streets.

The wrongly convicted
Wrongly condemned
Wrongly executed
Interceded,
"Father, forgive them,
For they don't know what
They are doing, "

And they still don't.

Or won't.

So, Father, before you must
Forgive them again, please give them
An ocular unction
And eyes that function.

You say, ‘I am rich; I have grown wealthy and need nothing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, white garments so that you may be clothed and your shameful nakedness not exposed, and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.…

(Rev 3: 17-18, Berean)

by Seamus O' Brian

Comments (3)

Hey, Neal! This poem for me could only be written by you, is eloquent because of you, because of your passion that drives and fills the words. How pathetic the perception and the ignorance that misinforms it to assign value to the color of one’s skin. Hoping this finds you well, brother in the faith and craft. -Glen
I find discrimination really appalling, whether by race, colour or religious beliefs. One of the great benefits of PH is that you come into contact with people from different cultures and you learn a great deal. I think this is a very passionate and wonderful poem, Seamus.
Beyond a fraction of a fraction of a being crafted in the image of God and this was amazing really. You have very brilliantly penned this poem....10