Pleasures of Life Dept.
Day #1669: a letter to my unborn son
By Josephus Thompson III
When we found out we were having a baby — a second child and a boy, at that! — we were ecstatic! The American Dream, house, kids, boy and girl, white picket fence, car and SUV, entrepreneurism and W2 combination, we were building a life and chasing the dream, but I just could not shake this feeling that something was different with this pregnancy. And I could not put my finger on it. I was happy and excited, of course I was, but there was this thing looming. Fear? Anticipation? Doubt? The feeling was not overwhelming, but there. I could not see it, but I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. It was difficult to express and I wanted it out, the weight lifted. I needed to make it tangible, so I turned to the pen and this is what spilled onto the paper:
They are going to try to kill you . . .
What I meant to say is, Dear Son, this world . . .
Argh, let me start over.
Your mother and I are sooooo excited —
And terrified — to bring you into this world.
They killed Keenan last week, tased him till his life phased out, and all he wanted was help. You are Black and they will always see that first, then male, then threat. I’m not sure if human or son will ever enter their minds.
But know that you are mine and I love you.
I want to tell you that you come from Wakanda, Vibranium in your DNA, but neither of those things are real. Either way, you will become a superhero, and not by choice but over time in order to survive. Learn to wear masks and allow your truth to shine through your chest like a beacon of hope.
I’m afraid my suppressed fear has stifled my excitement. I’m sorry . . . It’s hard to explain and . . . your name is coming. It’s on the tip of my tongue, afraid to leap.
But when it does,
Boy, you gonna fly.
There is a runway prepared for you.
But evolution means you probably won’t need it.
And Africa, yea Africa, is in your veins and we have traveled seas and overcome, chased the setting sun daily, praying to see it rise again. And we do and so will you. You are an epic poem waiting to be written. Wobbling in the womb, you are already consuming all you need. And we, we are waiting to welcome you with open arms, to protect you from harm. And the irony is, when your sister was born, I considered buying a gun, thinking, “I have a wife and daughter to protect.” But now, having a son, and then I can’t think of one example of how that might actually save your life . . . or mine . . . in this society . . . in this society.
Dear Son, you are a magnificent masterpiece, a bundle of joy waiting to be opened, beautifully and wonderfully made. You are enough and always will be more than meets the eye. You will transform the world, and I am already so proud of you.
And, at 20 weeks, you are already kicking up dust, getting your reps in, getting your weight up. Trust me, you will need it. And I, I will teach you of Lorraine Motel Balconies and Audubon Ballrooms of African uprisings and vast kingdoms that created culture and knowledge.
Dear Son, you are a miracle.
A rising manifestation of love and peace and joy,
of purpose, power and persistence,
You are Patience personified in God’s grace.
You are a greeting,
A morning sunrise,
A reminder of revolution birthed from sheer will and necessity.
You are needed.
And we anxiously await your arrival.
Poet, Dreamer, Husband, Father, Son
Changing the world one poem at a time
@JosephusIII on all social media platforms