I want to tell you about the little girl I've been babysitting. She has coarse black hair,
mini-braids with multi-colored plastic beads at the ends. She has red-brown skin,
like me. She has a smile like a new galaxy being born, and she asks tough questions.
How do clouds stay in the sky? How much rain does it take to make a rainbow? I’ve learned
to come up with some crazy theories. Half an ocean tossed into the sky—a million little birds
towing little strings tied to the clouds’ silver linings. To be honest, I’m afraid of the questions
she isn't asking: Why does mommy work so late? Why won’t daddy come and watch me?
Why won’t daddy ever come and watch me? She reminds me how close we all are to explosion.
I want to tell you that things always break apart from the center. On the other side of the universe
bombs go off that we never know about for millennia. Whole nations and people have flourished
and floundered before humans noticed their fading light. I’ve been told in 50,000 years
the Little Dipper will resemble more of a bent, crushed coke can—the hind leg of Ursa Minor
collapsing into its gut. I’m afraid we will become like the stars of Draco, our serpentine curve
twisted into shipwreck. To prevent this, I’d travel warp speed to put my mouth on your mouth,
where the meaning-making happens—tie strings to our galaxies and drag them together
across the ocean of space. I want to take the boiling stone from your core, name it Dignity,
mold it while hot, and cool it into something the world will recognize. But why should my hands
reshape anything inside of you? I want to know that America still has room for black love,
for black families. I want lightyears before the next supernova. I’ve been told that since the time
of Christ, the Three Kings of Orion’s belt have pointed to the brightest star. Sometimes I wonder
how even they stay in the sky. Last night I dreamt Emmett Till visited Ferguson, MO. Nobody
recognized him. Not until he laid down next to Michael Brown’s body. Not until he kissed him