Kneel; Verb/ Honoring Colin Kaepernick

Suddenly football, the game and gridiron,      is a man on his knees.
What does a patterned patch of cloth mean, the ritual of song before each game?
Funny, the emotions we assign to gestures, concepts, objects.
Men kneel, proffering small boxes from palms.
Men kneel for knighthood, for the press of steel on clavicle and crown.
A soldier takes a knee for a quick rest,     a map-check.
Kaepernick kneels for the black man ordered to kneel curbside, for boys who watch from windows.
He kneels to puncture the skin of the matter.     He kneels to take the grief.
Knell is kneeling’s sibling word, a noun.  The sound of a bell ringing to mark a person’s death.
Kaepernick kneels for black men handcuffed.     Kneeling is the body’s anthem.          
Kaepernick kneels to pause, to subjectify this shape.     We kneel under the weight of history, in awe.

Because white men can’t police their imagination
black men are dying.

—Claudia Rankine


Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash