Sunday, July 14, 2013

12:13am, 7/14/13, hours after the verdict

This poem has been kicking around, waiting to be born for a while now.  Once upon a time I worked for a lovely organization that builds schools for underprivileged boys, primarily of color, in the NY metro area.  As someone working on the foundation (support) level, I read a lot of the research concerning boys in education in general, and boys of color in education in particular.  The stats for both groups are terrible.  I've since become more sensitive to issues concerning young men of color, and stress every helpful tip I ever learned to every mother with a son.

Then Trayvon Martin happened, and a host of other shootings of young brown men in the city and around the nation.  Tonight (technically last night, but I haven't gone to bed yet), Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, was acquitted.  Half my twitter feed is alive with the news and reactions to the news.  I was doing okay--saddened, upset, annoyed--until Salli Richardson made this post on Instagram (sharing it via Twitter).  Then the poem that had been kicking around, waiting its turn to be born, giving me false positives when I saw an adorable brown baby boy, came pouring out of me.  And now I can't stop crying.  Which is a problem b/c I need to be up at 6 for church (I'm slow).

Anywho, poem.

12:13pm, 7/14/13, hours after the verdict, my beautiful baby boy

Dear Son of my womb
waiting to be born
waiting for Husband and Mother to be joined
I am scared for you
Beloved love of my life
they hate the very thought of you
You strike a fear in them that is revered on screen
and reviled on streets
They have told themselves how you walk
they have told themselves how you think
they have told themselves what you feel
and that that feel is fear
And though it shames me to say
I have sometimes believed their lies too
that a man that looks like you would could mean me harm
and a man that looks like they do could do me no wrong
though they are already plotting for your life yet unformed

Dear Son of my womb
what am I to do?
You precious gift of God
where could I hide you?
What kind of armor could I give you?
I am your mother, dear,
or I will be
isn’t it my job to keep you from all that hurt you?
Surely the advice that "you sometimes have to let them fall"
doesn’t include "let them get thrown up against a wall when he’s done nothing at all"?
Surely other mothers don’t worry
about rescuing their sons from precincts for crimes uncommitted and undefined
instead of principles' offices
Surely surely surely
they will see my baby boy’s beautiful mind
and not that he is a Black boy
older than six
taller than 5’
who fits a descrip