an open letter to the gay, racist, Christian republican I once called friend

when you hold hands with those who would hang you
on a tree adjacent my own Black ass,
we see all you’ll sell out to salve your skin.
how you embrace purity tests, “both sides”
bullshit, and lives which matter to pastors
who think you’ll burn in Hell. but build a wall
behind your Hispanic beau. hold red signs
at rallies before the Black girls you claim
as daughters. pretend the Lummi niece— scalped
by your sentiments— will save you a safe space
when the Revolution comes. Lord, how your
white fragility cracks like an old skull
against the steering wheel of self-pity,
lists like rainbow flags waving surrender!



MEH is Matthew E. Henry is a multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated poet and increasingly cynical Black man. The author of Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020), his recent works are appearing or forthcoming in Baltimore Review, Bryant Literary Review Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, Poemeleon, The Radical Teacher, Rigorous, The Revolution (Relaunch), Solstice, and Tahoma Literary Review. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education. His work can be found on


image: Marvin Shackelford