Tuesday, November 25, 2014


My boys have been away at school
I have not seen them for eleven long months.
I have so looked forward to having them home.
To dishes in the kitchen sink.
Dirty socks on the floor in family room.
Endless noise. 

And yet this is a very hard week to parent.

For eleven years
I have loved my chocolate-skinned sons as best as I can.
Cooked and cleaned and driven.
Showed up at practices and games
Attended parent teacher conferences
and court room hearings
Claimed scriptures.
Cried and prayed.
Done without so they could have.
Over and over and over again.

And yet tonight.
I am not their mother.
We are not family. 

I am one of them.
The other.
The enemy.

I search for explanations.

I cannot imagine what it might have been like
to be that young police officer
in an urban neighborhood
on a hot summer night.
I do not know what really happened.
Why he would choose to point a gun
at a not-yet-man-child. 

And I cannot hope
to understand
the grand jury-
hours spent
listening to testimony
poring over documents
and photographs
to arrive at
a decision
that pleases no one
and can never bring back
a mother's fallen child.

I am left
sitting at the kitchen table
trying to find words
to explain injustice
to apologize 

to my chocolate-skinned sons.


Lynn said...

There are no winners here . . . How sad the violence just continues...

Dana Murphy said...

Your Slice took my breath away. None of this makes sense to anyone, none of this is easy. Keep loving those chocolate skinned sons. Talk openly and honestly, just like you did in this Slice. Thank you for this beautiful poem.

webwhitman said...

I got chills reading your poem- thank you for putting into words what we are all feeling as a society today. Injustice or not, a child is still never coming home again.

Judy said...

Wow. Just wow. If you don't mind, I'd like to share this with my students. It's so powerful as a testament of writing to understand and hopefully to reshape our world.

Tara said...

I was thinking of you last night, Carol. My heart is so heavy. Love is love, Carol, and a mother's love is always true. Your boys know that.

writekimwrite said...

Yes Carol, it is so hard...
In the same moment may you be comforted by the God of all comfort and breathe the truth of this hymn, The Solid Rock.
"His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay."
Standing with you in prayer.

Linda B said...

I watched and watched last night. I wish it could be different; I believe it should be easy, but it continues to not be. Hugs to you Carol.

Nanc said...

hearts are breaking all across our country...when will our skin tones bleed into one? love you Carol and your boys, making a family and standing up for change xo nanc

Ramona said...

I was heartsick as I watched, & your poem captures your sadness. So many feel the same way regarding injustice in our world. We must continue to speak out, reach out, and seek justice. Thanks for sharing your very personal response.

Stacey Shubitz said...

I cannot imagine how you felt last week, Carol. This poem sure does help me empathize with you. But, like Tara said, your songs know you love them. I can't imagine that they think of you with thoughts other than love.

How has it been talking to your sons about it in the past week?