When Crumbs Don’t Bring Them Home

how much can we love them
before we armor ourselves against
the rocks they will duck, dive, and still not miss;
can we give them enough to share and
if we do
how do we assure that it does not meet
the folly of a fickle hand
that claims it suspicious, unlikely, and
without merit?

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trayvon martin with friend
Trayvon Martin, 15-17 (undated)
emmett till collage
Emmett Till, 14
dorian april 2013
Dorian (my nephew), 14

I’m trying to follow the case against George Zimmerman, accused of the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Trying still to skip around the stone in my throat, even though it feels like I may never not be tripping over such stones everytime I revisit this case.  Or the case of Oscar Grant, hell, Sean Bell, Emmett Till, Aiyana Jones, place the name of a young black man you know here.

george junious stinney
George Junious Stinney, 14

This poem appeared on UtR shortly after Trayvon’s death.  I removed it so that it could find a wider audience in the Stand Our Ground anthology.  I’ve wanted to write more, but I keep coming back here, same stone, which makes the title all the more fitting, eh?  This is all, so, ughhhhh.  Bleh.  Yes, that.  And this:

CARTOGRAPHY

What will we tell them?
Will we tell them to stand still
and if they run
to swerve, zig zag, duck,
just keep moving forward?

Will we give them hugs, juice;
or feed them black pepper
and oranges–bursts of caffeinated power–with spinach
and potatoes or rice?

Will we be silent?

Can we give them our stories
without curling their backs into
it, yellowed pages crisp and crumbling like
sepia snow into piles we sweep from in front of
our bookshelves?

Will we love them
only; wait and watch them
turn to men who fail themselves
for want of recognition?

And after all: how much can we love them
before we armor ourselves against
the rocks they will duck, dive, and still not miss;
can we give them enough to share and
if we do
how do we assure that it does not meet
the folly of a fickle hand
that claims it suspicious, unlikely, and
without merit?

Or is it the fickle hand whose folly we
plan for, march for, make our case to?
And what, when that hand slaps us; balls into a fist
to pummel us; makes our every effort
a puree of sepia snow and its own storied mysteries?

My nephew was angry with his mother.
So he ran away–hid in an empty hallway
in the neighboring apartment building for hours.
Once, he walked up the dark road from their
complex into a deserted NASCAR track.

Both times he returned home.

We want to keep them–
or expect them to return–home
yet we cannot map their way back.
Will we tell them the bread crumbs are not
guaranteed?
Because breadcrumbs have never really
been guaranteed.
For them.

One thought on “When Crumbs Don’t Bring Them Home

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