As the struggle for life and freedom continues, we also continue to mourn the fragility of black existence in this country. Friday Night (June 12), a 27-year-old African-American male, by the name of Rayshard Brooks, was shot in the back and killed by Atlanta Police. Consequently, I wrote a poem tonight in his memory. In the poem “Cloak of the Light,” I reflect on the life of a frightened pregnant black mother who refuses to give birth to her black son because the world is cruel to his kind; the mother also believes that inevitably, her baby boy will experience death by monster men.
“Cloak of the Light”
for Rayshard Brooks
So often my feeling of your birth frightens me,
every day, like a dog barking in the night;
like an angry tiger in the daylight.
I always feel ready to foam with rage,
against what surrounds me;
against what denies you life and dignity;
against what hinders you from ever being a man.
She carries me inside of her and grows in grief.
She flattens her hands over her belly and makes me invisible.
She conceals the secret for nine months,
to disguise my identity.
My mother hides me in her womb,
that I won’t experience the risk of life and the pain of birth,
the harshness of this world grows in the dark;
where the cloak of light is not bright.
She covers me in her blood that is life;
your skin will lead to your death, she whispers to me;
Boy, I cannot let you out,
to a world of brutality and destruction.
Boy, monster men will break and strike you.
I must hide you deep within.
The world is not easy for your kind;
it is not made for you.
You cannot run with the wolves;
monster hunters will shed your blood;
Black child, I must not soon give you birth in this cruel world.