Manny Ellis (Walking)

I heard his mother say
he was walking in the place he was supposed to be,
in the valley of the shadow of death after sundown,
and three horsemen were there
and they cut out his voice
and they stole his breath
and they put him on trial for what they did to him.

But his mother knew
he was walking in the place he was supposed to be,
on the right path,
with a drum in his heart that set his feet walking
just inches above the ground,
so that his smile - the one you see
in that picture of him that's everywhere,
top button done up, head cocked to the side -
his smile came off the ground too
and hovered there
until it couldn't wait anymore, and
had to fly into exile onto that poster of him smiling
next to that towering word,
justice.

Justice, his smile:
you only get to see them on a poster.
His smile doesn't live on his face anymore,
justice can't breathe in his body,
can't walk on its own (especially at night)
we have to carry it
the rest of the way
like a sign
along that path his mother knew he was on
til we get there,
til justice,
walking.