Skip to main content

Elijah’s Violin

I wish Elijah were still alive, to tote his violin to the animal shelter as he did, to soothe the kittens. When he saw their fear, this was his kind gesture.

I wonder if he knew of his namesake, the Jewish prophet Elijah and his magic violin, that possessed the power to calm, to release melodies of the heart.

Had he taken his violin with him that night on his walk, it might have saved his life. It might have signaled to those men who killed him, that he was not a rapist or thief, but a healer.

He went to the corner store to buy some tea for his cousin. He wore a mask and was easily chilled because of a blood disorder called anemia.

Elijah McClain, this fragile young black man, was heard sobbing, apologizing. He had been reported by an onlooker as suspicious. Unarmed, he was subdued, put in a choke hold and injected with a sedative.

He died three days later.


A woman, moved to tears as she read this news, said that Elijah’s struggles reminded her of her gentle son, whose sensitivities and fears were like those of Elijah. She called his condition “autism”, an invisible disability—loud noises, commotion, bright lights and physical contact with strangers, terrify him.  

In memory of Elijah McClain, 2/25/1996 – 8/24/ 2019

‘He was inspired by everything’: friends and family pay tribute to Elijah McClain. The 23-year-old killed by police in Colorado last year, ‘just wanted to be better every day’, says a former colleague.

June 20, 2020 in The Guardian

Colorado attorney general report found Aurora police racially biased and fire department administered ketamine illegally
First published Nov 24, 2021 



elijah mccain, poetry, racism, social justice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *