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His name was Trayvon Martin


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I adore Skittles.
I like each color,
the taste of each kind,
from Tropical to Wild Berry,
the way they roll around
on my tongue,
becoming paler and paler
as they lose their coating
in the basin of my mouth.

But not even their
euphoric sweetness
is enough to wipe the taste
out of my mouth
when I close my eyes
and think about
the fact that this is real.

The Police Chief
said he’s sure
you would do things
if you had the chance.
But I guess I just don’t understand
what there was
for you to do differently.
My mom says
bottled teas are not good for people,
but I don’t think
that’s what she means.

It seems unfathomable
that we kill one another
in the first place,
but that we do it
based on things
that weren’t matters of choice,
that the law
can protect our killers,
that we tell our children
to stop being black
but hide it under telling them to
stop wearing black,
we tell our women to wear long dresses,
this is real.
This is not a bad dream.

It wasn’t cold today, Travon,
but I am wearing a hoodie anyway.
Because I am hearing
how a change of clothes
could have saved your life.
I am hearing, Trayvon,
how you are partly to blame
for your death.

I am hearing, Trayvon,
that “we don’t want to face the issue,
so we are going to sweep it
under the rug.”
I am hearing that it is
not necessary to pursue.

It is, in fact, necessary to pursue.
It is necessary to stand your ground.
This could have been any of us.
This could have been your son
or your brother or your husband
or your daughter or your uterus
or your marriage or your speech
or your passport or your son.
We all walk on streets,
and we are not walking together.

I’m waiting for the day
when what you buy at the store
does not cost more
than your life, and when the
particulars of your body
are not as dispensable
as a pound of flesh
or a bullet.