We all sleep, and breathe and dream in this city —
But do not go east at night, dear child.
I have mapped these crimes, These grand indictments. These crossed lines Extend past daybreak too I’ve heard these tales, and steer clear Of the latitudes and longitudes.
And south of here, right by school Where you want to just look at Lego sets Even though we have groceries to get — This parking lot becomes territory To lost souls who are not here For Starbucks or weekly shopping peace.
And yes, all 12 voted, first degree Behind your soccer practice fields Mark on your map, a felony. Don’t be alone for crossfire then — Please hold my hand, Just hold my hand.
And north of course, Where you were born Suspicious vehicle left to emergency A man, left to bleed, a kid, really — Only 16.
Does his mother weep? Her sweet son lost in the same driveway Where first we both drove home, Nursed our newborn boys To sleep. Mark the north spot. Ink it, deep.
Well west, you said, Mama look how the sun sets — It’s so beautiful, Mama. Please look away my child. I learned that predators are out on bail, And I have no more ways for us to sail.
And as he grows I am reminded to Pay attention The days of his total Dependence are Almost forgotten He can open the Refrigerator and take Out the jelly Demanding it spread On his uneaten peanut Butter only bagel in His lunch box He has a lunch box! How quiet are our nights How quickly his mind expands Telling me the red thread On my shirt Reminds him of red blood cells Magic School Bus! I kept a list of his words When he was first saying Mama and Daddy And bug and moon All the things I forgot To write down To capture every moment As if it wouldn't escape Me anyway
There was a moment not too long after the turn of the century, or at least it felt soon after, where they tried one last desperate attempt to cling to their grandfather’s insistence of genetic dominance determined by gender when all could not sleep A night that made anxiety Weak in the knees as we watched A decision of the shameless Of powerless deniers Of absolute enablers Because to look in the mirror Would remind them of all of The Mothers and maybe their Fathers who made them And how they too are both Victim and lost To convenience of amnesia But we were watching We knew this would happen Another symptom of excuses Of excess And no accountability But it was time. Because this was the straw That broke the straw on top Of the last thing that happened We thought we were past Already we were all ready Enough.