12 Years a Slave at 10,000 Feet [a #poem]

12 Years a Slave at 10,000 Feet [a #poem]
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

can't live with my eyes
forced them open
blinked back blinding tears
witnessed degradation reenacted
on a screen at 10,000 feet.

a black man
stolen, beaten,
dehumanized.

sold.

suddenly a hand on my shoulder.
"would you like something to drink, sir?"
i look up into her smiling, friendly face.
her black face.

pressed pause.

though the distance
between real and act was clear
they also suddenly merged,
and i felt ashamed to ask
for anything.

forced myself to breathe and act normal,
to ask, to request
- not ordered, not that word - 
a drink.

stared at that ginger ale in shock,
couldn't drink it
just watched it sit there.

hot, horrified tears on my cheeks.
forced myself to look up
pressed pause again.

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