In the air (poem)

In the Air

I am momentarily alone,
meditating in the big blue chair,
framed by orange yellow daffodils,
reaching for that sliver of light in the air.

The creak of the bunk bed ladder
delivers his little heavy footed feet
barely balancing
his needing
to climb into my lap,
and crawl sweetly back
into an earlier version of himself.

His skin is the color of the warm coffee
suddenly out of my reach.
I watch as he returns deeply into
his gentle mocha dreaming
on the backs of flying dragons
still so easily within his reach.

I pull him closer towards me all the seven years
I’ve had so far to hold him
no amount of this will ever be enough.
Now I am teetering on the edge of another mother’s grieving with
all the other mothers now fearing
their seventeen year olds
leaving the house (and not coming back).

Maybe it was seeing Trayvon’s mother’s vacancy
where her son, and her heart ought to be
that made me
cross the street the other day
when we were all outside at play
over to that young Black man
who was just walking along,
ignoring us until I got up in his way
to just say; hello!

He stopped short and looked long into my eyes
and told me how he
used to live across the street from my family.
He remembered when my littlest boy was little little

Those curls of his, they were so wild, and free.
They’re all gone-he asked or was he telling me?
Surprised, I blurted how I cut them off, because they were- unruly.

He nodded and smiled while walking slowly away from me-
this twenty something version of Sammy
has every bloody reason to be unruly.


Be unruly in your dreams boys
whack the ball clear
over Jackie Robinson’s legacy
leap and extend yourselves
further than Alvin Alley.
President, engineer, poet and astronaut-
not holding back but
breaking free from our shared history
and stomp, don’t stand all over the unequal ground
bequeathed to you indirectly.

Like the time the referee
held onto Sammy a little too long
while he was squirming, anxious to move along.
Admonished apparently to pass the ball more
and shoot less,
I wondered when the other light skin boys
might get a similar address.

But for now my little love,
just sleep and breathe in deeply your
luscious dark brown dreaming
conquer your dragons while clad in
your heavy armor and mesh hoodies.

My brown skinned prince so sweet and near me-
if squeezing you tighter will keep you fear free
and holding you here
will not let (my) fear ever take you from me.

I am no longer alone,
meditating on that moment in the big blue chair
framed by orange yellow daffodils,
and sensing a mass of hope in the air.

– C. Anderson 2012


  1. This is beautiful. So much is expressed here, encompassing the range of worries and injustices we think about in relation to our brown skin boys, all distilled in that precious hugged up moment. Lovely.

  2. a mama masterpiece. the depths and hopes encompassed here speak right to the heart of so many of us. thank you.

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