Reflection after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,’What are you doing for others?’’
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I celebrate the young woman
in the high school chorus
at the Martin Luther King service.
She’s in front of the alto section
in her black satin concert dress
and I see the rows of white razor scars
on her left arm.

I stop counting at forty,
and wonder if she feels my eyes.
I’ve seen cutting before –
not so many and always hidden,
sleeves quickly pulled down.

I am humble to tears,
privileged to witness her courage –
“Look,” she says to all the world.
“Look at my recovery,
and see where I have been.
If you need help,
just come and talk to me.
I understand —
and now I am here
singing freedom songs.”

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4 Responses to Reflection after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

  1. Marie Lucca says:

    As someone works with youth and young adults, all I can say is, “Love it, love it, love it.” Sometimes these posts move me to tears.

  2. sugruerm says:

    I saw a similar arm once at a study day celebrating inclusive church. I didn’t have the words to express my feelings, but you have.

  3. Maren says:

    This is a hard addiction and one so few understand. Often there is so little compassion.

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