I can barely breathe, I thought

The cloth mask slowing my breath

As we joined the battle fought

To rail against such cruel death

They said we were rioters and looters

And not just righteous protestors

I looked around me to properly gauge

The measure of these marchers’ rage

Most, scarcely half my age or less

Some younger than my kids, I guess

Age or gender not quite their marker

Differences in colors couldn’t be starker

United by a common purpose

Marching to create a fuss

A fuss, necessary to gain attention

And to fight for the ascension

Of those put down forever, oppressed

A cry of pain and anger of the depressed

And those others standing in solidarity

To strike against the powerful’s venality

No, we were not rioting or looting

But marching in strength to protest

Even under your threat of shooting

And in that you saw humanity’s best

I can barely breathe, or so I thought

Then recalled those cries that rang out

Of Garner, Manuel, Floyd cruelly murdered

Such sorrow, such pain, how shouldered