Forty-One Times (in memory of Trayvon Martin)

40 for free
39 for his sister
38 for his mother
37 for his baby
36 for the half-love at home
35 for the reasons he ran here instead of staying
34 there
33 for the soldiers who were on his trail
32 for the authorities who let him go
31 for the hours spent at the airport waiting
30 people in line
29 visas to go
28 denials
27 appeals
26 too few for hope
25 years old, too young to die
24 dead anyway and many more to come
23 friends buried
22 burned alive
21 shot in cold blood and the rest got away
20 with major injuries and
19 maimed for life
18 who will never be able to multiply and make up for
17 year old children with children of their own
16 chances missed
15 different times but choices are like that, impossible to guess that
14 could ever be a lucky number and
13 maybe he’ll survive if he gets there in time
12 but this time too late
11 days without a minute of sleep
10 times punishment for doing the job no one else would
9 coffees to wash out
8 badly needed drinks
7 seconds to fall asleep and dream of Ricky Reel
and dream of Stephen Lawrence
and dream of Rodney King
and dream of Nigeria and what used to be home,
and dream of the sound of footsteps coming up to the door
6 raps on the window or maybe
5 who’ll ever know because
4 police officers’ memories aren’t enough to hold what’s happened and
3 are failing failing
2 times would’ve kept him down but not far down enough for them
and let one of them be left for me
let one of them be left for me
leave me one don’t let them
leave me out

amy evans © 2000