When I Have a Daughter


When I have a daughter,

I will gaze into her beautiful, chocolate brown eyes.

Then, I will desperately clutch her tiny frame to me.

Adoration will burn brightly within my heart,

While sadness burrows deeply into my mind.

As my little child nestles into my warmth,

And begs for my unwavering attention,

I will make her thousands of loving promises—

Promises that the world will gleefully smear and ruin

By weaponizing my job, mental health, and body against me.

I will whisper sorry too because I know this will happen.

Then,

While caressing her sweet chubby cheeks and soft crown of coils and kinks,

My heart will whisper the beautiful truths I wish for her:

She will eagerly soak up knowledge yet know to question everything.

She will powerfully forge her way through this world and its barriers for us.

She will grow up to be more than just a ripple within an ocean of bodies.

When I have a daughter,

I will anxiously shelter her in the safety of my arms, and

Fret about the numerous sharp corners that pervade

My fractured world:

The colorism,

The creeps,

The brutality,

The discrimination,

And the intolerance

Lurking behind every pack of sweets

(Like the army recruiters singing promises of wealth, opportunities, and honor to the low-income

Babies at all of the high-schools surrounding our quaint neighborhood…)

I know that I will have to buy bundles of tape and bubble wrap,

Because I must try to protect her from the painful dangers that will

Fiercely try to beat away her safety, sanity, and soul.

And I know that my attempts to protect her will

One day fail.

When I have a daughter,

I will keep my teeny-weeny nugget of joy

Impossibly close,

And far away from the world that demands she

Peaceably accept the barrage of hate

It will launch her way, if she ever

Questions aloud the struggles she will be forced to face—

As I have before her,

As my mother before me,

And as the powerful women before her.

When I have a daughter,

I will gently situate her so

My hand is firmly pressed against her back

And we are cheek to cheek;

I will close my eyes and pray.

Beg for someone to listen and watch over my baby—

To protect her precious soul, mind, body, and heart from the world that

Already looks at her lecherously and prepares a spot for her in a

Dark, empty, cold room buried deep away from civilization and compassion.

I will pray that she never becomes a story used by people to promote their selfish ideologies;

I will pray that her body remains her own,

Even when society tells her that anyone in an authoritative position has the

Right to beat and to kill her as they please.

I will pray that she knows she has a fortress within my spirit;

Yet,

If she needs privacy and simply the comfort of her own mind,

I hope she finds some way to release the

Anguish afflicting her body and mind—

To not simply let them fester within her soul,

Creating an aching void that the white therapists she sees later

Could never understand—nor want to.

When I have a daughter,

I will tell her everyday that her black is beautiful;

Because when she learns to read,

And is indoctrinated with a history that

Erases her people’s greatness,

I know it will hurt her.

I know that it will dwindle her dreams.

I know that it will steal away her confidence.

And I know that it will plant a

Familiar weariness in her heart.

When I have a daughter,

I will embrace her tightly for as long as I can,

Because I know that the world will

Force her to grow up a million times sooner,

And force her to accept that

No one will ever love her fully, innocently, and wholly

As her mama did.

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