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Poetry

My Brother: A Boy Misunderstood (Poem)

A couple of years ago, my little brother stormed out of the house. Before I could catch him, the police were called by a lady who said he tried to kill himself. They took him; handcuffed his hands super tight so that his skin wouldn’t bite the cuffs off. Pain opened his mouth so wide; as if it wanted him to escape out of his own tongue. They flung him in the air as if he were a bed sheet. He flailed back. Spat at one of them like he had a fighting chance. One of them: White;
hungry for the smell of black flesh burning. He took out a taser. My mother had to warn him with Mamie Till eyes; looking like she would meet death to save her child. He put it back in his pocket. At the time, I didn’t resent those officers; or the lady that called them.

A couple years ago, my brother had a manic episode in the street. I had to slam his face into some concrete so he would not harm himself. He cried. He told us to kill him already. I cried. But I learned from the times when he broke away from my grasp, to not take his crocodile tears seriously. I remember the people staring at us. The eyes of disapproval. The red lights resembling cop car sirens. Then the resentment came. I pondered how can a woman call the police on a black boy, and say it was for his safety. Fear crept along too. I was scared for the both of us. Him because his life might not get a second chance. Me because I had to play those same two police officers.

By James Fisher

James Fisher is Associate Editor at Abernathy. He is also a student at the University of Pennsylvania and a human rights + social justice advocate who uses his day-to-day interactions to influence his work.