A Black Boy's Mother

Transition from an advocate to a mother

A Black Boy's Mother

I can storm the streets in anger,

Yelling loud - with fire in my hand,

A rasp to my voice.

I can fly to Charlottesville,

To protest the injustice,

Scream at the streets and light fire in their faces.

I can fly to Minnesota.

I can sit at Philando Castile’s memorial and think –

I have to be loud,

I have to be educated,

I have to be angry,

I have to fight.

It cannot wait.

The sun kisses his skin.

Injustice curves the plump of his lips.

His native tongue loose from his mouth when his mother calls to warn him of white women.

The aching of his muscles after being called the N-Word while on the football field remind me of the fear I have when he leaves home.

The ancestors of Africa curve his smile as HE comforts ME.

Because now I,

I live in fear of losing him.

I cannot storm the streets,

I cannot raise my voice.

I cannot fly to protests in moments of sadness or anger as the faces of the people I love are plastered on the news as yet another body dead.

Because now I,

I live in fear of also losing my son.

Because now I,

am a Black boy’s mother,

a nurturer,

a provider of not only a house but a home.

I have to teach how to increase the chances of survival to a Black boy,

When my own survival was never at risk as his will be.

As his Father’s is.

Now, my body houses the soul who will face the unjust circumstances of life in America.

Of living while Black, or at least trying to.

Now, I must fight our fight from a distance,

To ensure and promise his safety, his father’s safety; their lives.

Fire in my writing,

A rasp in my voice.

A calmness in our fight,

Patience in my storm.

With eagerness and fear,

I will never know the experiences of being Black but I now know the fear of being a Black boy’s mother.

I have to be strong,

I have to be educated,

I have to be aware,

I have to be love.

I cannot enjoy the glow of pregnancy while police paint the streets with his bloodline.

I have to decide,

At what age will he understand that he cannot sell lemonade in the heat of Summer.

At what age will he understand that he cannot walk home alone,

He cannot wear his hood up – even in the snow of Colorado.

At what age will he understand that not everyone will want to be his friend, that he does not have to allow people to touch his hair – but don’t be too aggressive saying “no”.

At what age will he understand that they can say his name correctly, that he must be adamant and insist that they pronounce his name the right way because he deserves it. Because his name brings joy.

But don’t be too aggressive when making teachers repeat your name.

At what age will it be okay to I teach my son that he is allowed to be a child.

At what age will his Father get to have his childhood.

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Hope Martinez
Hope Martinez
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Hope Martinez

Mother. Teacher. Advocate and activist.

See all posts by Hope Martinez