What do you do when tears
are not enough?

When you’re almost numb inside
because you’ve heard this story so many times

you know it by heart.

Exhausted from breaking
the weight of hurt
and explanation.

Black Lives vs. All Lives
doesn’t really matter when it’s
life hanging in the balance and
brothers being murdered.

Target practice legislated
and tried
in the court of someone else’s opinion.

And no one truly cares.

What do you do
when you know exactly how this ends before it begins?
Not with a conviction,
or justice.

What do we say to our sons

Deep breaths as we dust off our
“Don’t worry, that won’t ever happen to you” speech.
Try not to sigh too loud
as we turn our faces away.
Tell ourselves to
be strong
always strong
black woman
black mother
backbone of our people

Never allowed to pause for just a minute because

See, Mommy’s supposed to have the answers.
She’s supposed to keep you safe
be your cocoon
your back-up
’cause if she prays, you’ll be okay.

Except when you aren’t.

Truth is
Mommy can’t stop you from being hunted.
Prevent the hands of profiling and bigotry
from wrapping around your neck
when she’s not there to pry them off.

She would gladly give her life for yours
but baby, she can’t save you
from a world that views you as less than.

Less than a person.

Less than a thing.

Unworthy of a voice.

But she can’t tell you that.

So she holds back pain
masks fear with positivity
hugs too tight
forces desperate kisses
hoping you can’t tell the difference.

Hoping you won’t tell her if you do.

Mommy is a fraud
though not by choice.
Feeding verbal lollipops laced with dreams
of another life
some other life
someone else’s life.
Not ours.

So what can we do?

I truly don’t know anymore.
And that’s the scary thing.

How many more.

Copyright © Nia Magazine. 2016.

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