Asylum

Asylum

Poetry By Renee Daniel Flagler

Dear Prayers,

Please, allow me to beseech you. My son’s life depends on your answer. Morning after morning,

I implore that when he leaves for school or work or just to hang, an attempt to make himself a

better man, to build his heart and mind, to gain that which can’t be beaten away, that he will

make it back home to us. Safe. Whole. Alive.

I know I ask repeatedly, but every day offers a new feast of aggressions. You see, he drives a car.

It’s not fancy, but he worked tirelessly and saved until change boasted itself into dollars sure

enough for four wheels and coverage to mend accidental breaks. A vehicle he calls his own—

paid for by the very sweat of his back, not by entitlements. It’s not luxurious, but simple. Four

doors. Gray. Compact. But unassuming or not, he needs only to bear black or brown skin behind

the wheel for a simple broken break light, probable cause or simply nothing at all to lead him to

being carried by six and buried just as deep. Like so many bodies made infamous by hash tags.

Broken. Defamed. Deceased.

Prayers, if you will, don’t mind the insistence of my words. Just grant my dire requests. You see,

he has a future imagined bright and bustling as the shooting stars. There’s a corner office waiting

patiently to bear his name. There’s a passport eager to be stamped while he tries the languages

and foods of foreign lands on his tongue. Great walls and towers await his awe. A wife and four

adorable children look forward to calling him honey and daddy. This was his declaration. Two

boys and two girls. The boys must come first to protect their little sisters. His future knees yearn

for the sitting of his babies, wanting to be read their favorite stories that were once read to him.

Run, run as fast as you can.

He’ll introduce The Gingerbread Man with the same nostalgic

admiration that makes his eyes gleam at the fair age of nineteen. He can’t wait to live. Long.

Bold. Free.

If you will continue to consider my pleas I know he will survive. Tomorrow will greet him,

bubbling with possibilities. Snatch him by the heart. Float on ambition. Press with perseverance.

And dine on the pride of accomplishments, fueling success he couldn’t fathom decades before.

So when the sun rises again, I’ll be there to ask once more and once more again with the lighting

of every new day afforded to my own eyes. Even if I lose my sight, I’ll plead through the

darkness. I’m afraid that if I don’t he just may not make it home. Alive.

Desperately submitted,

Black Mother

 

In Ten Lines

Can a whole existence be summarized

Birthed into hopes flickering lights through time

Milk fattened and readied for shearing like lambs

By the sharpness of the oppressor’s cutting lips

Clothed in armor to block darts of insolence

Though innocent of offense but still blamed

Taught to wade through threats imbedded in DNA

Grown steeped in resilience where survival reigns

The hotter the water the more you can handle angst

Makes adversarial living as subtle as the American Dream

 

Brother

That day everything changed

Their blindness made it easy

To inflict all that pain

They didn’t see the student

Who dreamed the unseen

Studied infinite nights

For the kind of white-coat future

That bloated a parent’s chest

With pride

They didn’t know

You had parents who cared

Domestic and blue-collared tired

But willing to stand the rain

To save a son created

Into a tapestry of hope

It didn’t matter to them

Blue fists busted your lips

Pounding in torrents

Stinging and hard like hail

Until your eyes bubbled closed

Dashing more that the light of mere sight

They didn’t care that

Depression would invite darkness

To cling to your soul for years

Sucking joy like leeches

Evoking all your fears

They didn’t stick around to see

Your unseen dreams disappear

Higher Ed fade from your grasp

As if someone turned the light

Out on your future

Yet some consider you lucky

Because

You’re still here

 


R.D. Flagler fell in love with words in the second grade. The relationship has only grown since then. As a novelist and recent graduate of The College of New Rochelle's MFA in Creative Writing program, Renee remains passionate about writing, social justice, youth, and literacy.

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