Emmett your mother didn’t get to see you past 12
Tamir your mother didn’t get to see you past 12
Emmett, they laid you out like a dish under a ditch
Tamir, they laid you out like a dish on top of a ditch.
they ripped back your scalp like a tangerine,
Y’all boys are so far apart but so close that
y’all lived the same life and died the same death.
I stay up past 12, work laid out on top of my desk,
Stress pulling back my hair like a scab.
Emmett was grinded in a gin
Tamir was a target within shooting range
While I’m loitering on my phone,
I don’t mean any harm.
Emmett made it back in pieces
Tamir made it back in pieces
In a casket
His mother’s arms.
Every day, I am in pieces.
Emmett was mistaken for a bachelor
Tamir was mistaken for a toy soldier
Emmett was only visiting
Tamir was only shopping
Emmett was just looking
Tamir was just playing
I’m just trying to graduate
Emmett and Tamir
lived the same life on different timelines.
But which is worse,
A frail noose or a gun barrel,
Both are holes used to strain
The life out of anything.
Out of Emmett
Out of Tamir.
Out of Emmett and Tamir,
What’s the difference in a black boy dying
then and now if they’re both dead?
Emmett was afraid
Tamir was afraid
the men who killed them were afraid,
Emmett and Tamir
I was once your age.
I remember fighting off a bastard bully
Because I wouldn’t let him keep my toy.
But the both of you will be remembered as
Little boys who didn’t know how
To take care of their toys.
Y’all were young black boys
who didn’t hit puberty,
But were seen as threats to your society.
I will not give up on you.
I will not be another stigma.
I will not be another black boy
who was killed like you.
By DWIGHT JAMES III / Contributing Writer
Dwight James III is a freshman Chemical Engineering major. He’s an aspiring writer, spoken word poet, and actor that enjoys community service and exploring leadership opportunities. His first self-published chapbook, Eldest, releases on his little sister’s birthday, September 17th.