“I can’t breathe.”

“I can’t breathe.”

who moaned?

a black man

neck chock-locked by a knee

under a police car

In Minneapolis.


“I can’t breathe.”

“I can’t breathe.”

who couldn’t even breathe that?

a Jew man,

hands and feet locked by nails

suffocating on a Roman cross

outside Jerusalem


that’s what crucifixion does.


George didn’t pretend to be Jesus.

Jesus did intend to die for George

and all the Georges of the world.

I wonder, was he there,

trying to breathe for George

or breathe out with him?


Oh, dear Jesus,

please breathe your breath

on us again,

for all those suffocating

in sin,

or sorrow,

in sickness

or servitude,

or slavery.


breath out your pentecostal fire

on all flesh

black brown

yellow red white

burn out our hatreds,

our silences,

our forgettings,

before we all burn,

before we all die.



Leighton Ford, Pentecost 2020

“Breathe on us, breath of God.”