by Constance Jane Moore
I watched my friend’s heart break
with every fiber of her being
her two sons are not safe in this world
I watched her shatter
just as I did at
when over and over and over
the warnings my mother gave
came true
            beware of white folk
with every fiber of my being
I am not safe in this world
In those moments
when oppression targets your original self,
your precious first full being
You split
The real me sits safely wrapped in my mother’s skirt
The real me stays tucked quietly under the bathroom sink
watching my father shave
This other me, this not fake, but not fully me, me
steps into this world
does the day to day
This me has friendships
that are real and true
I stay with one eye open
waiting for the slip, the turn
Ever vigilant. Ever watchful.
beware of white folk
It is this me who sits with my friend
listens to her weep
Her pain is
Her mother never had to warn her
She walked into the world
So much so that she can love not one, but two, Black boys
Not without doubts
but with enough certainty
that she could raise them up
to be strong Black Men
Until this moment
When not love, or effort, or outrage
is enough
to keep our children safe
This moment broke her
My heart broke for her
and for me
and for this me
This world will shatter us all
again and again
I cry with her
because she is my friend
and I love her
with one eye open