Wednesday Poem

A Young Man

We stand together on our block, me and my son,
Neighbors saying our face is the same, but I know
He’s better than me: when other children move

Toward my daughter, he lurches like a brother
Meant to put them down. He is a bodyguard
On the playground. He won’t turn apart from her,

Empties any enemy, leaves them flimsy, me
Confounded. I never fought for so much—
I calmed my daughter when I could cradle

My daughter; my son swaggers about her.
He won’t have to heal a girl he won’t let free.
They are so small. And I, still, am a young man.

In him lives my black anger made red.
They play. He is not yet incarcerated.

by Jericho Brown
from the Academy of American Poets

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