forgotten. I’ve spanked him
once tonight. He takes turns
then hungry. In his mouth
my name—all need. Pursed
am guilty of the same sin.
weight. Embryo, the deepest
root yanked clean. This is why
who willingly would let go?
But today another white cop walked
free, another black body was still
on the ground. “Not indicted”
undoubtedly the future outcome.
Four years ago I crossed labor’s
red sea of pain to birth a boy—
no doctor hit his backside, now I raise
my hand to complete an act
older than me, breaking the black
back of the boy to make a man
who can survive in America.
Mommy he calls me and my teats
threaten to weep old milk at our stasis.
Both of us needing the succor of sleep,
both of us fighting—him, to keep me near
me, punishing him to be left alone.
He crawls into my lap, his heart
is three, his body, a lanky four.
I cover him with a blanket
too thin to mean it. We rock
on the edge of his bed. Listening
to the symphony’s fourth movement:
the crescendo sweet, full of tension,
taut violin strings singing. I think
Mozart must have known something
of loving with such a tender fear
that it breaks you open like a welt
that bleeds to heal. Tonight I give up,
cuddling this boy so full of belief
in himself, I’m too tired with love
to beat it out of him.