Wednesday Poem

Mike Brown is Eighteen

[And legal]            now.
[Taking full advantage of the enough he is.
Might go sign up for the war.
Might as well.

Still can’t get drunk,
or perhaps get a real loan
without offering his death,
as if it were even legal

to be young, black, living
and really living.
He is no exception.
Just “legal”             now:

Legal to sex and war
and sign permission slips
for his own intents
and purposes.

What is a young black life?
But, thick hair,
good organs for the taking,
and crying mothers,

Anyhow. If that. Then,
what makes him feel that
he had the right to be
rendered enough?

To be black and worthy
of the space we take up
feels paradoxical
now and then;

It is his only constant,
his forgotten privilege,
to have inherited
a surplus of self-doubt.

But, he’s legal now,
old enough to be
declared “enough of that”
and withstand it all.]

Might as well…

by Trace Howard DePass
from Split This Rock