There are places they tell us not to go,
like that tiny town six hours outside of Philadelphia.
Where pale skin will reach inside your chest and pull out your dignity with a rope.
A rope they’ll try to cinch around your neck,
and make you gasp for air while they laugh.
While you struggle to breathe
struggle just to breathe.
In the air full of thick hatred.
Full of whispers from mammas telling their babies not to step foot in the place
that hates the same Blackness that lives inside of them.
Or they’ll snatch your life right out of you and parade you around the town, one less monkey out of the cage.
They tell you not to shake the table—
not to poke the sleeping bear.
To tip toe around the hatred and then maybe it won’t seep into you.
But the sleeping bear always finds a way to wake,
the one legged table is always rickety;
one toe is always a tiny bit too big.
And when they hang you, in an empty forest full of unknowns, nobody will know.
Your momma will miss you
but nothing will get done. As a statement
they’ll leave you strung to the tree…
with no sound but the wind.