Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Hoodie

A gray hoodie will not protect my son
from rain, from the New England cold.

I see the partial eclipse of his face
as his head sinks into the half-dark

and shades his eyes. Even in our
quiet suburb with its unlocked doors,

I fear for his safety—the darkest child
on our street in the empire of blocks.

Sometimes I don’t know who he is anymore
traveling the back roads between boy and man.

He strides a deep stride, pounds a basketball
into wet pavement. Will he take his shot

or is he waiting for the open-mouthed
orange rim to take a chance on him? I sing

his name to the night, ask for safe passage
from this borrowed body into the next  

and wonder who could mistake him
for anything but good.

Credit


Originally published in Green Mountains Review. Copyright © 2015 by January Gill O’Neil. Used with the permission of the author.

Author


January Gill O'Neil

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014), winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Date Published: 2015-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/hoodie