For Black Boys by Leija Farr Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

Delicate Black boy. Solider, plum painted spirit, deep rooted, dreamer. I can tell from the oceans on your bed that you’ve never been told you were beautiful. Mother didn’t remind you of rainbows in her malleable insides. She soaked you in songs but never self-love, never explaining the pink hue of your lips or the mole that marked your spine, you later saw mirrors. And didn’t memorize the letters of beauty so you couldn’t recite them, you didn’t know you’re magic.

That love making on a Sunday was your conception and no one could dismiss that you had a shine oozing from your collarbone when you were born at 6am. You glow in the dark, you are a poem, boys can be roses, boys have hearts, they need love. You have amputated your stomach for relief from the world, relief from what they feed you. That Black boys don’t need love only bullets, that they’ll find warmth in a barrel before they can bear a reflection, they lie to you.

Black boys bleed every month. They are left with miles of blood clot, the hymns of their brothers, they leak the blood of the murdered, the red liquid that drowns concrete, drowns tomorrow, drowns the pigment of their skin, you are a Black boy that sheds.

Finding yourself in these science experiments with your flesh, not trying to be heartless, not wanting to be in pain any longer, wanting to be told you are flawless, you are a work of art,

standing in the light so it can reveal the shades of magic, your blood, the shades of Black boy beautiful that paint the world, but you were never told, that you are acrylic and you unique, something that takes time to love, something that takes time to believe in, your mother should of whispered in her pregnancy to you,

She should have put you to bed with the words that hold off revolutions, beauty would stop the war, women are not the only ones that need to know their value, boys are human, these TV’s and politics won’t deny them of hearts they love, no matter what.

Delicate Black boy, you bleed every month. Your ribs leak the sea of last night’s massacre, the next night your legs will drip and stain like an unattended Sharpie, you will crust at the edges of your hips, tattoo at the angles of your chin with those stories, you go through pain too, you do not birth humans, but you birth the world every single day you wake up, I tell you,

In a place that will never understand you are amazing, in a place that will put fire to you then say you are callous, they will burn you then say you are reckless, some mothers won’t tell you because they think it is feminine and they want you to prepare for a battlefield your whole life but I tell you, you are beautiful, you are grand, you are too permanent to be unloved.

You will heal this place when it is full of scabs, full of scars, full of stitches, you will be the one to erase the pain. Beauty is a tongue you will learn to speak. Pass this to the young brother on the corner, who’s been told his body is a mixture of oil and water, pass it to every brother, delicate Black boys, soldiers, beauty is a tongue you will learn to speak.

Sofia Snow