Pantoum for My Parents

By | 1 February 2021

My mother listened to my poem,
and it filled her with shame.
My father asked me to explain it.
I was both sorry and afraid,

and it filled me with shame.
My poem is about racism—and how
I was sorry to see it, and afraid.

She says nothing, and watches me.

My poem was about racism. How
else can we speak of our pain?
She says nothing, just watches me.
They have learned to be silent.

They don’t speak their pain.
My father cannot explain it.
They learned they must stay silent.
My mother is listening to my poem.

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