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every time I take my son out of our home to a park, taekwondo practice, comic book store, out to dinner / phones are deployed before facts are confirmed /

perhaps this nice man you’re with will buy you… / sad for my strawberry frozen yogurt-deprived son / confounded by our relationship / Charlie is White / me his dad, a Black man living with, laughing with, loving, supporting, paying the bills, making the sacrifices for a White child /
Mr. Drummond, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, endless paparazzi shots, optics /
few parallel examples exist for my son and me /

my Charlie’s whiteness does not negate a noose America’s ghastly love of lynching steeped in fears of miscegenation, offensive glares, racist legislative policies, nurtured bigotry he has yet to notice people eyeing us in confusion / I worry for the day when we’re in public / he refuses to hold the safety rail, my hand, command to stop at the crosswalk, or follow some simple direction / I fear my discipline, direct, stern, loving, might catch the eye of some White person / who challenges my parenting, questions my legitimacy,

calls the police

I wish we lived in a world where this was hyperbole / but like my mother before me
I go about my quotidian duties, a sleep-deprived parent, too absorbed in my son’s innocence to allow myself to fully live in fear