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College of Humanities & Fine Arts

"Count Your Bruises" by Lilith Meredith

You will die and I am sorry. 
George Floyd portrait
"George" by Lilith Meredith
I will die and I hope you will be sorry, too.
I and you and so will she,
And so he will and so and so sorry.
We will breathe and our breath will
catch.
 
Fill your lungs with your hand on your belly,
it may be the last time.
 
They and we will breathe until we don't.
It is many days the only thing she can do
to keep from sinking.
One day you will sink and I will be
sorry for not holding your hand tightly enough.
For not saying "Say that again but let me look into your eyes this time."
Sorry so many hands held your head down instead
of pulling you through.
 
I cut a cucumber wrong and I bled.
So sorry he is so fragile, the skin is so soft.
We are so soft, so gentle, so wet on
the other side of the skin.
He is so sorry he is so soft he should have
been sorry should have been harder than
the asphalt harder than his anger
he should have been sorry so
soft so vulnerable so much
softer than his heart.
 
You will bleed and I am sorry.
We will bleed and ache from the sun and from
invisible beings we are just starting to
understand.
Understand she is just as soft as you.
Understand she also breaks so much so
easily under pressure under the weight of
your femur.
Understand that not a single one of us has
been loved enough and will still rip
when you drag us along the highway.
 
I caught the table with my thigh and
my skin bloomed with a sick purple puddle but
it could have been his boot or his baton.
Or his fist or his gun or his so so sorry heart.
Life is so hard and I am sorry.
I am sorry that we are the problem,
that you cannot fill your lungs and
feel her drowning. I am so sorry that
you are too angry to feel your own weak
fleshy body over the under, that you are
too hard so detached from your softness,
that you have been loved so little that
you have become so little in the face of fear.
 
He and she and we are dead and I am sorry.
That the people that prey think they
are too hard to bleed and that they will
never read this and never learn about
their own softness. I am sorry that we are
killing ourselves instead of lions or
old age or some disease that you can only
get from breathing too deeply.
 
I never looked you in the eye and held
your hand and listened to you breathe
and I am sorry.