for Trayvon Akwasi Benjamin Martin
Kwasiada 1995–Kwasiada 2012
I name him Akwasi,
whom you also call Trayvon.
My week’s beginning,
anointed, yellow, new.
My week begins with flight
because he prays to me
only: let me grow old enough
to be my own pilot, to fly my own skies.
Each night, I paint his
eyelid interiors cerulean and wisp.
He sees himself boarding
the latest Airbus A350
in crisp First Captain digs:
a deep navy coat and slacks,
overlain with bulbous gold buttons.
Three gold stripes on each shoulder
Three gold stripes on each sleeve.
His silver aviation wings are pinned
squarely; just left of a slim lapel,
above the crease of his breast-pocket,
along with a Jacksonville Jaguars pin,
because this year will finally be the year.
He nods to the head flight attendant
and gives his co-pilot a close-tuck dap,
before beginning the aircraft’s careen
along the runway.
The tenor and water of his south-Florida drawl
meld with the plane’s PA system like morninglight
mingled with dew: Ladies and gentlemen
this is your Captain speaking—
black boy pilot,
keeping black boy skies.
Even during turbulence
he measures the water
in each cloud.
Steer, measure, steer.
Titling heavy wings through
My week bleeds open
without its beginning.
From Saltwater Demands a Psalm by Kweku Abimbola. Copyright © 2023 by Kweku Abimbola. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.