In light of the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, I figured I’d share this poem I wrote a year or so ago. It’s called “A Man (He is).” It’s about being married to a black man.

 

I married a man
who may be dead
should another with a gun
perceive him a threat.

I married a man
who when he drives
sits next to anxious wife
glancing at rearview mirrors like
crystal balls—
blue and red lights
might mean his demise
she reminds him to sound polite
show both hands
try to smile, say “sir”
take the ticket as a gift
it stings less than the bullet
forget any diminished sense
of his
humanity
I just want him breathing.

I married a man
whose smooth, satin skin
shelters me in the night.
his voice, his grin
his everything excites me.

I married a man
who gave me a daughter
his attention and affection for her
heal my own Daddy wounds
our daughter swoons
calls him “Papi” and
knows she’s safe.

Why can’t they?