W.J. Lofton’s visual poem We Ask For Fire is a powerful work that partially reflects on Breonna Taylor’s tragic death at the hands of Louisville police.
In the poem, Lofton repeats the words “the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor are at home with their families” as protesters and justice advocates are left picking up the pieces after the atrocious incident. It has inspired filmmaker Ava DuVernay to commission him to create another poem surrounding police violence.
“I was deeply moved,” DuVernay tells TIME. “The idea that one artist was able to unite a very striking written voice with a visual voice—a marriage of the vocabulary it takes to be potent in both forms—was very interesting to me.”
DuVernay, for her Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP), had Lofton further his quest for truth surrounding Taylor’s case, and resulted in Would You Kill God Too?, which debuted on Sunday.
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In the poem, Lofton asks a series of questions to three Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers—Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove—who conducted a “no knock” warrant raid on Taylor’s apartment last March. During the raid, the officers fired more than thirty shots into her residence, killing the 26-year-old EMT.
“How do you explain this to your children?” he asks the officers. “Did you tell them the blood on your shoes belonged to a Black girl, or is she not worth mentioning?… God was in the room when you made a massacre out of someone’s child.”
“I wanted to confront them like they confronted Breonna,” Lofton told TIME. “It’s so important to constantly name the officers, so they don’t get to go back and just live their lives after they’ve taken someone’s life.”
Watch the powerful Would You Kill God Too? visual poem below.