There Are So Many Poems For Black Boys in America
For Tanaka
By Caits Meissner

And this is for you, black boy, blue seed of my heart
that planted when I fell in love with your brother
and you came to America and grew and grew.

I know about black boys in my country, how they draw
down the shades to protect what is shockingly alive, how
they must collapse the body just to survive summer in
                               New York,
              in Chicago,
                               in Oakland
but your seed, it flourished, latched onto your glow,
an apparition floating from bedroom to bath, and when
we hadn’t seen you in days, there were small prickly hairs
on the sink from shave, a dish lingering in the kitchen, you
were alive next to us so surely, we were sure of this when
the news reported about black boys in America
              and it was never about their hearts
                               (unless there was a hole in it)
              and it is never about their minds
                               (unless there is a hole in it)
and we felt safe and thankful and protected and
the tree grew through the roof, buckled the ceiling
insisting selfishly toward clouds, roots spilling
to the apartment below and we didn’t call the Super,
shuffling through ruins as if this is what we deserved,
this small slice of America, our little box
                               (in which to be free.)
But my precious seed, I press you to my palm and kiss.
Do not let America fool you, the heart does
not need a small space of its own to shut away in,
it belongs to a field of colors.
Sometimes the heart wants to romp through thin
night and become a dancing shadow.
Sometimes the heart wants to stand on a mountain
and lookout onto a world so still, so patient it could not
possibly hurt
and blackness is just another robe the universe
              wears to show off, like snow or rain
                               or morning as it rises it’s pink tongue
and nothing could contain this living thing so buoyant
and bright and growing straight through the sky.

Caits Meissner is an award-winning poet, educator and vibrant creative force dedicated to transformation and healing through storytelling. Published in various journals and anthologies, her poetry/music album, the wolf & me, was released in 2010 and The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, her collaborative poetry book with poet Tishon, arrived in 2012 on the Well&Often imprint. Her poetry of witness has been awarded first place prizes from the Pan-African Literary Forum and the Ja’Nai Foundation and she serves as Co-Founder of The Wide Shore global women’s poetry magazine. She teaches an online course, Digging Deep, Facing Self, designed to uplift, heal and transform women into their boldest selves.