What can we tell them?

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?

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cartography
mixed media, darlene anita scott (2015)

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 been guaranteed.
For them.

 

 

first appeared in:
Stand Our Ground: Poems For Marissa Alexander and Trayvon Martion
FreedomSeed Press, 2013

One thought on “What can we tell them?

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