"An Empty Space" by Meriam Ahmad
Curled up in the backseat of a broken car at night,
Tears streaming down her face
Her mother by her side, holding her tight.
Their anger could the world ignite,
The flames raging through their embrace
Burning brighter than the smashed streetlights.
Their sadness crushed their bodies despite
The tears already swelling in their hearts’ place,
By Almighty God the jury must indict.
Sirens screaming cause no fright
Her eyes fixed on the empty space
Forever now, an empty space behind the left headlight
Two out of three was never right.
Daddy I can’t live without your embrace
Two out of three will never be right.
Especially when he could have been here tonight.
Meriam's Commentary: I wrote the poem after George Floyd's murder, so it's more focused on police brutality. But police brutality and mass shootings are just symptoms of our culture of violence and militarization, fueled by the greed of the military industrial complex. These things go hand in hand. I hope this poem serves as a reminder that violence crushes entire families and communities, and in order to uplift our communities we have to directly address these issues with legislation against the militarization of police and people.