The womb-waters of creation dance at the emergence, an archipelago of cells drawing together as island of flesh. Drowned in amniotic fluid, the growing assemblage that is the human embryo does not draw breath.
While yet submerged, she never needs to.
Instead, as flourishing lungs stretch for room to breathe, her mother hosts
her body as surrogate to her inhalation. She breathes in her place, on her behalf. Maternal oxygen pirouettes across the surface of the placenta, the delivery room of bloods in exchange transgressing the fetal borderlands. An ancestral discontinuity that, unable to touch, most
While yet submarine, she grows stronger.
There is neither light nor air in the echoes of the womb chamber. But her soul quickens.
With each moment she mimics the movements of air, assured it too will soon come.
She will be ready.
Kicks that come like sun flares
are just that—
small miracles I love to watch.
Yet I look away
lest they hurt my eyes.
Growing bones, liver, appendix.
Chest rise, belly fall.
No breath, yet breathing.
On life support, yet living.
I ask your prayers for the departed,
Pray for those who have died.
How long, O Lord?
I know that what I am asking is impossible.
But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can
and one is, after all, emboldened by the spectacle of human history in
and American Negro history in particular,
for it testifies to nothing less than the perpetual achievement of the
The Fire Next Time
I am running out of faith to lose.
Mary, did you know?
That your body is the condition
in the midst
Pregnant mother of God.
The Advent of Our Lord In Utero.
OUR GOD WHO CANNOT BREATHE.
Do not speak to me of your peace.
Breath-blood smeared on undeserving doors.
Taste the memories of morning sickness on the back of my tongue.
Shall come to thee.
Manifest by the shadowing of the Spirit.
So why are you afraid of the dark?
Black lives matter.
Who told you the lie
that there was
ever a time when
this was not?
Nausea. Exhaustion. Rage.
God help us
if our backs are not bowed in labor.
if our bodies are not swollen with tears.
if our throats are not coarse with our cries.
if our stomachs are not sick with repulsion.
these symptoms of pregnancy.
we do not carry
Christ within us
as we think?
Words of institution:
Do not take. Do not eat.
Choke on bodies felled.
The voice of one suffocating in the Wilderness:
This world is out of air.