mother appeal

he is crying

i cannot get him

to take

another step

he is yelling

they kill us!

they kill us!

i’m too little to do



it was just

a quick pizza run

just up the street

a hot ‘n ready in hand

home for a night of

last year’s

blockbusters but







i cannot leave him

hysterical and full of rage

they kill us!

he yells

they kill us!





the courage




tucked finally

into pj’s his breath

even, he speaks to me

about strange dudes

outside pizza joints in white faces

the things that make up his

nightmares, he no

longer smiles and greets

police officers

to him right now

they are the

boogie men who cloud his

dreams with terror

and i am wondering

if there is another mother

somewhere asking herself

will my son one day be

someone else’s nightmare?


my son is black named

for leaders long since passed

raised in this middle class

still vulnerable to the attentions of

ill intended masked men calling


‘the force’


i’ve had to cut

his exposure to

news programs with

the same vigor i apply 2

r rated movies

it’s on the news

he tells me

all they do is

arrest us and kill us

and when i’m bigger

they will come for me

just like they come for



i am his mother

i made a promise

long ago to not lie

i never have




but i am wondering

as my son, who is 7, crosses

this passage all sons

of color must wade

if there is

another mother somewhere

out there wondering,

will my son

one day

be the stuff

of nightmares?


this noah

this ian

this george

this darren

who she has tucked in

will he one day stand over

another mother’s son?


will your son

one day be

the nightmare

looting mortgages and

going sub prime?


will he be

the campus rapist?

will women line up

outside his door

screaming no more?


will your son one day

be the stuff of nightmares?


leaving bodies buried

in shallow graves with

tell tale signs of a massacre


will he squeeze old ladies

out of their homes or become

a pedophile who roams?


all the statistics

demonstrate that he is

more likely to be a monster

although probate will blame

society’s woes on the sons of

brown and black mothers


in your heart you must know

it is your son who will build

monuments on top of sludge ponds

poisoning water supplies that

leak into the lifelines of millions

bad guys with guns only a prelude

to the true terror he could reap


i sit here rubbing my son’s

back as he finally finds sleep and

i wonder if she wonders and

i worry that she don’t


my son will one day stand over 6’4″

his size 6’s at 7 are a guarantee that

a large black man lies within and

i shudder to think of all those

who fear him although he won’t

raise his hand even in

his own defense

i watch other mothers of

black and brown sons

preemptively going on the defense

proclaiming to anyone who listens that

their sons have dreams of being and demanding

america give them a chance to breath


but these are not the mothers

who should wonder. our sons have not

become serial killers, marauders, rapists, or

sadists in droves america only knows.

we did not raise adam or george

nor have we nursed darren

we don’t wonder if our son will one day send

his brothers to war over something trivial

instead we fear that one day yours will

and i wonder if you wonder somewhere within


one day

your son will become

the stuff of our nightmares?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. LaTanya D. says:

    Let’s hope, pray… and continue to protest.

    1. Amen. Thank you for reading.

  2. C.C. says:

    This is so powerful and compelling. Wow!

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