Published on Academy of American Poets (

A Young Man

Neighbors saying our face is the same, but I know
Toward my daughter, he lurches like a brother
On the playground. He won’t turn apart from her,

Confounded. I never fought for so much—
My daughter; my son swaggers about her.
They are so small. And I, still, am a young man.

They play. He is not yet incarcerated.


Copyright © 2018 by Jericho Brown. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 14, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The state-sanctioned murder and capitalist-motivated mass incarceration of black and brown people makes it seem as if they aren't indeed people at all. But here we are, as resilient as the sonnet: fathers, daughters, sons... We survive knowing the imagination of this great nation depends on our demise.”
—Jericho Brown


Jericho Brown

Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jericho Brown won the 2009 American Book Award for his debut collection Please (New Issues, 2008). He is also the author of The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

Date Published: 2018-04-14

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