To My Neighbor Who Had the All Lives Matter Sign on Her Lawn

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To My Neighbor Who Had the All Lives Matter Sign on Her Lawn


When the cop spilled bullet brown milk, the authorities

told the country not to cry over spilled milk.


The All Lives Matter sign danced across your lawn

with bare feet, a beer in one hand, toothpick


between pink lips, and shimmied with the neighbors

in your backyard while your daughter climbed


the aluminum siding of the house next door

where the black boy, she loved, smiled


from his window, holding the other end of a sheet

she had wrapped around her waist. Woman,


you were only one generation from brown.


A decade or two later you understood

when you saw a cop through the peep hole


of your suburban door. Your hand shook

as you turned the brass knob, and he told you


your very own grandson, one generation brown,

who you thought was safe cause he could pass


as an infant, had been shot. Something happened

during puberty that you did not expect, brown skin


and coils because he refused to cut his hair,

and like Kaepernick took a bow toward Africa.


But it was too late for you to go in reverse. Too late

to proclaim, Black Lives Matter when that guilty cop,


who pulled the trigger, dined at home with his family

while you cried at the grave of a brown child


you never imagined you could love.


Shawn R. Jones

Typehouse Literary Magazine (2020)

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