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)