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A boy, I am told.

The familiar numbers fall

like a wall of ash across my mind,

the future now made

both freshly opaque

& terrifying in its clarity.

I know what I have

survived. I have lived

to tell of it only in songs

I can belt without ending

the world. But enough

of the untold terrors we know.

There is an entire genre

of poems about the fear

of bringing another

black son onto the Earth.

I refuse them all.

Little one, they are not ours

to bear. There is a war

outside, yes, and inside

our home there are books about flowers,

ten-speed bicycles, dinosaurs with names

you can’t even pronounce yet.

We are building a story

for you that is bigger than bombs

or the words of assassins

who do not love us.

Your inheritance is this refusal

and infinitely more: triceratopses, hyacinth,

racing uphill in our blue

helmets, two runaway ice comets

cracking the night air open,

so swift within

its shadow

we are almost invisible.


Joshua Bennett

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