Tamika Palmer

I think about Breonna Taylor’s mom a lot.

I’ve never met Tamika Palmer, but in Breonna’s childhood pictures,

I see something like my mom and me–

Joy smeared from cheek to cheek, with her little one bundled up.

In quotes, her grief shakes the text.

I’ve never met Tameka Palmer, but she had a daughter who was five days younger than I am.

Meaning that while my mom held me in California, she held Breonna in Michigan at the same time.

Now, my mom says all lives matter,

And I wonder that if I were killed sensely while I slept if my killers’ lives would weigh as heavy in her heart as mine does.

My mom isn’t talking to me right now, and still, I am sure she loves me.

I wonder what that love looks like on the other side of murder.

I wonder if she’d pray so hard it’d tear the sky apart and render God deaf because her shrieks are so loud. If the ozone later would break in half and capsize the Milky Way Galaxy.

I wonder how she’d hear “all lives matter” when it’s so obvious that three men didn’t agree. If that’d sound like a bell tolling or a scream or just a “fuck you” to all the years I was hers and now I am but I’m not.

I think about Tamika Palmer a lot. I think about Breonna more. I had five more days by fate getting here, and now, I have endless years that I shouldn’t know I have this counterpoint. But I do.

I do. The only difference is that I am white.

My mom is white,

and Tamika is black.

And that’s why Tamika grieves while my mom says, “All lives matter”.

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