Isabel Adomakoh-Young

Darkling (2013)

He was born to the sound of a murder-
The wretched, retching screams
Of the gulls as they circled the border
Where the city meets the sea.

And was it coincidence, ponder,
that his mother wept soft
As she split at the seams?

Her life slunk off without wonder
When she birthed the black boy
Whoʼd haunted her dreams.

It worsened as he grew older,
His family bore the crude scar;
No wish to dandle, his sister
No hopes for the future his pa,

Grave concerns his poor teacher
At the Sunnyside School
“for kids whoʼll go far”

And nothing but fear his grandmother
Of the child born under
A black-burning star.

What was it that made him desire,
While companions played in the sun
To skulk at the edge, torn asunder,
Shady, companion to none?

The same thing that made him destroyer
Of hedge-dwelling things
That scream as they run.

And that night the playground caught fire
His acquaintances, silently,
Knew what heʼd done.

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