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A poem by Ruby Iyabode Joseph

I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe

Passersby tried in vain to stop the siege

A helpless man who couldn’t stand, was violently restrained on the ground

And, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe.

A cop on top, full force he dropped

His knee upon our brother’s neck to stop

He gasped for air, in utter despair, helplessly begging for life

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

We looked upon him, as he passed away

Calling for his mom to show him the way

He pled, he cried, to stay alive– but we all saw

That he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe.

It’s egregiously unfair, that they did dare, in broad daylight

To snatch his life, in plain sight

We saw him plead, we saw him scared, and soon as we all feared

He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe.

Protests abound, looters astound, and fires strongly rage

As our citizens stand up and take center stage

Tear gas, smoke, hands up by most, as people chant

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

We are angered and enraged

With righteous indignation and madness

As we spend our days confused, protesting, in suffocating sadness

Because our son, brother, and weeping father, was brutally killed by an oppressor’s knee on his neck

But only now “ We too can’t breathe, we can’t breathe, we can’t breathe!”

Ruby Iyabode Joseph, Wesley Chapel

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