Dedicated to the 1,134 young black men killed by police in the U.S. in 2015
and to Trayon Martin, Feb.5, 1995-2012
Walking down the street,
talking to his girlfriend on his cell,
one hand in his pocket,
he looked up at the night sky,
moon behind the clouds,
when a man came up behind him.
The man yelled at him, called him names
to hurt him. The boy, only 17,
turned and ran. The man kept chasing him.
There was an argument.
The man was a neighborhood watch captain,
watching out for anyone he could bully.
And the boy—how could he know
the man had a gun?
When his cell phone clattered
to the ground,
the last words his girlfriend heard were
The man thought the boy was
different than him,
separate from him,
that he could make his own
fear and hate of himself die—by killing.
He didn’t see the moment
when the boy stepped out,
stood above his body,
all pain gone,
his heart, quiet,
continue his journey toward the stars.
There is the boy taking a walk in the night,
whose life was stopped short.
And a man who extinguished a life,
yet got the charges dropped:
the old, tragedy happening over
and over again.
Does Trayvon’s cell phone
still lie open in the street,
echoing in the night, a cry for help?
Are we, the ones who can still speak out,
are we doing enough today—to
change the story?