I did not know

I wish I’d said, “Sit down.” instead of, “Rise!”
I did not see your cracked heels
I did not see the soles of your feet
I did not see how raw they were
I did not know.

I wish I’d said “Here’s a chair, relax.” instead of , “Go on your knees.”
I did not see your bruised knees
I did not see how you were constantly forced to kneel
I did not understand that they belonged to them
I did not know.

I wish I’d said, “Relax your back.” instead of , “Sit up straight!”
I did not see the bending of your back
I did not know that it was always bent for them
I did not know that it was never yours to have
I did not know.

I did not know that your feet, your knees and your back belonged to them
But what I did know and will always carry with me
Was that your mind was always yours
That their power never extended that far
I never gave you that chance to rest
I hope you will rest peacefully now.

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