Linetta Davis (26 Feb, 2018)

Before They See God


Words swirl in my mind
a whirlwind of ideas, anger, and grief
hopelessness is my guide as I navigate through a world
that I know now
is not my home.

so, I work
and I tell children
that they can overcome the neglect of their fathers
the carelessness of their mothers
the crime in their communities-
that the Most High is waiting for them

to align their vision with His
That they can be all they ever hoped

…or dreamed….

As long as they bow their heads and speak calmly when being profiled,
As long as they place items back on the shelf and walk away,
being careful not to project anger…never show anger
Even when they are profiled-
As long as they use the history books to study what white privilege and

the racist power structure hold near and dear

Like cigarettes and authority
Like dogs and power
Like THEIR unborn babies and guns
Like Manifest Destiny
Like legislative power
Like deception and lies

And making sure that they must never, ever disrespect those things
Or even hold them too dear themselve.

If they can do that, turn over the right to play cops and robbers in the park,
To make mean faces in the camera and post them on social media,
To walk through a neighborhood at night, to wear a hoodie, to not listen to music too loud,
to not take out the garbage-

Then maybe they will live long enough
To see their own dreams
Before they see God