There is a boundary I do not cross.
It moves depending on the mood of others.
Mom has nightmares of a family broken by anger
Babies without moms. A husband calling from another home.
My father came to America
To own land.
From our first days here
He brought home lime-flavored Ice
From the Multi-Care vending machine at work.
We also brought home empty pockets
And his little bag with his clinic clothes.
Most of all, he brought home anger.
We live in a country inside America.
The boundaries move
when we move.
I seek the singer of a delightful song to show me my future.
We are surrounded by a jungle of gunshot wounds that walk
And talk, or wheel themselves back and forth in front of the house.
Dad’s watch constantly breaks
Silver is chipped. He knows the hour
At work because of the wall clock.
Our time is measured in minutes/
At my house there’s no gamble on dinner.
You can bet on fresh anger and win every time.
Purple knuckles knocking air senseless.
In this same country cousins born with their names
Will never hear them said by peers in their future.
They live on the edge too, but my aunt and uncle
Fit their jobs and they sing.
Wishing is a form of cowardness.
I cower waiting for a time
Where crime will not wake me up.
A boy in his house, window shining red, white and blue
Searching for a suspect.
In this red, white and blue world
Land is taken and painted red
Homes fill with the blues
As mother learns to raise a black boy
While white crashes through hope.
Immigrants zig and zag running for cover.
My adult sister lives across town.
By now even mom and dad call her by an American
English name. Waiting for life
Breeds fear and fear can kill the nicest people you know.
We are afraid, silent and silence is deadly.
My sister hugs me like a robot,
A cute machine that’s programed
To de-escalate and keep her lips sealed.
Drums of freedom have not reached the corner of my country.
We are tied to humans who are not truly free.
I ask for a wise person to point which way to my future.
The story of a boy
Who might choose
A nightmare, or a casket
Or a simple welcoming of the dead.