I cloak my son in whiteness

create the shield whenever I can

equating… mistaking… invisible with invincible

somehow believing I can save him

from history disguised as destiny.

I cloak my son in whiteness

it seems the only means I have

for safeguarding his protection

one more year, or month, or hour

until that moment comes, and fantasy fades away

as magic in fairy tales always does

invisible cloak, like childish things, gets put away.

I’ll cloak my son in whiteness

til young saplings, grown into low slung, strange fruit*

when the weight of the world bears down and

manhood emerges from chrysalis, muscles chiseled

by beaten DNA, skin darkened by unbearable suns

til I know all protection is fleeting, fallen away.

I cloak my son in whiteness

because I am afraid the world will choke

the breath from him, on any given day.

when I imagine wielding that invisible cloak,

sometimes I am empowered, sometimes just ashamed.

(c) 2020, cmk.

*strange fruit, from the song by Billie Holiday, compares lynched bodies to fruit.

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