I remember hearing about Trayvon Martin. I remember my heart breaking as I read and watched the news surrounding the unjust murder of this young man. I remember hearing about Oscar Grant, and then later seeing Fruitvale Station. I remember Eric Garner. I remember Sandra Bland. I remember how with each name came a wave of sadness and helplessness. I think that for anyone who truly has a conscience, there is a moment in these tragedies where you reach your breaking point: a moment that disturbs you so deeply, you struggle to fully process your emotions. For some, it was Trayvon. For others, maybe Tamir Rice. For me, it was Alton Sterling. It’s not as though I didn’t care before. I definitely did. But there was something about watching a man die… Thanks to the smartphone generation, we live in a society that is constantly filming and uploading content. Even Facebook has developed a “live” feature that allows users to film and their audience to view in real time. Still, normally when people film these encounters with the police, the camera is too shaky or they move right as shots ring out. Other times, we learn that the person died and we don’t see what happened. But Alton Sterling was the first of these murders where I actually saw a video of the person dying violently. The first video I saw was filmed from a car. The person filming dropped the camera down once the shooting began. In the second video that I watched (not intentionally, thanks to Facebook’s autoplay), you see the incident from a different angle. You watch as the cops fire shots into Alton’s chest. You see the blood seep from the holes as it begins to soak his shirt. You can see Alton’s eyes as life slips from him. His arms raise, but stiffen as he dies. I’ve never seen an actual person die in such a violent way. That image stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to log off of social media for the night and process everything. I tried my best to navigate through feelings of rage, sorrow, hurt, and helplessness. That man would never return home to his family. Immediately, I began to think about the children I haven’t even brought into the world yet. What would I tell them when things like this happen? How would I explain that they could be killed just for their existence? If they were victims of this violence, how could I bring myself to bury them? Would it be fair to bring them into a world that grows more violent everyday? While thinking about these questions, this poem came to me. Consider it a love letter to my future babies. In writing this, I realized that maybe I'll need them more than they'll need me. Take a look.

Bereavement of the Unborn

A Love Letter to My Future Children

For about 10 months, you will invade my body

You will dominate the space inside my womb

And your essence will melt into every inch of my heart

I do not yet know your father

But I know that you are the descendant of Kings and Queens

Though your mother struggled for years to find her crown

She now wears it proudly

Your laugh will fill a room,

Bounce off of the walls

And nestle into our hearts

Your smile will light the darkest corners of myself

Where my failures have laid to rest

You will be strong, and learn to navigate through weakness

You will be fearless, and fearful in some moments

You will be loving and kind

Inquisitive and overzealous

You will trust too easily

And love too hard

And life will reward you for your troubles

I hope that you inherit your mother’s sass and wit

Even her stubbornness and defiance

But never her years of self doubt and trepidation

You will grow and learn

You will succeed at many things, and fail at others

You will stand firm, and transform