poem: to Mekhi

You are too young to be this frightening with nothing but a pair of eyes.
Your second grade simmer, powerless in the face of strong-willed girls.
They’re taller than you. Louder. Better actors.
I’m afraid for your high school sweetheart.
The unmarked eye of your wife.

I hear your weathered speech to your oldest son,
the virtues of keeping a bitch in line.
I see your proud stranglehold on the sass of your daughter.

Mekhi, I don’t teach excuses,
but young black girls have reason to dress up as guns.

Did you find me weak, when I spoke softly?
Did you think my knuckles were too quiet?

After your first punch,
loosen your hand,
write it down.
How you finally broke her in half.
Send it to me. I promise. I will not write back.


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