What my white mother meant to say
when she defended cops after Mike Brown was murdered

By Dylan Garcia

Darren Wilson looks a lot like
the brother I sit next to during Christmas dinner,
who comes off the streets during his patrol
dressed in his police uniform
so he can sit down to some ham and mashed potatoes
while the walkie talkie on his shoulder clicks.

I look a lot like Darren Wilson,
surrounded by people
with sharp picket fence teeth.
No one wants to look like a murderer.
So Darren Wilson must be innocent.

And I can’t be racist.
I married a brown man.
I divorced a brown man.
I have black friends.
I used to have black friends.
But I am white as the floor of a slaughterhouse.
It doesn’t matter how I started out.
I am now covered in blood.

I think you’re not understanding me properly.
I say riot when I cannot say fear.
I say thug when I cannot say oppression.
I am afraid of this white skin
that I can’t scrub clean of its inherited sin.
I’ve never said a prayer for my dead son.
Those tears, they just aren’t mine.
That salt must be something different.

You see,
I am a fist growing bold at a lynching.
I find comfort in numbers.
I live in a nice town,
a white town,
I can’t hate black people.
I hardly see black people.
That’s just the way things are around here.
It’s why we don’t lock our doors.
No need.
I know better than to say these things out loud.

No police have ever wronged me.
My brother is a good man.
“To protect and serve,” you know.
But I’m not blind.
I watch the news every morning
when I get out of bed.
I hear the names of the dead,
and the sound of bullets hitting pavement
rings in my ears.
So when I sleep at night
I sometimes wonder:
What will become of me
once this protective system is gone?
What will become of me
when I end up on the wrong end of a gun?

Dylan Garcia is a performance poet out of Rockford, Illinois, and a member of the revolutionary socialist organization Fight Imperialism, Stand Together. He has performed at shows on stages across the Midwest and competed in the 2013 National Poetry Slam in Boston with the Lethal Poetry team from Chicago. He has been published in Words Dance, Wicked Banshee Press, and The Legendary. His first chapbook of poems, Not Every Word A Fist, was published in 2011 under the name Amelia M. Garcia.