If You Want to Understand Why I’m Crying

It’s because I can’t protect her
I can’t protect her against
The rising tides of water and hatred

I can’t protect her when
She leaves my arms for school
Where children with spinning compasses
And growing access to lethal weapons and unchecked prejudices
Can penetrate the sanctuary
Of education and innocence

I can’t protect her from
Groping hands and belittling language
Or from symbols crossing like targets
Aimed right for her heart

I can’t protect her from
The walls people will build to keep her out
Or down
Or confined
Or imprisoned

I couldn’t protect her before either
But before I had less to protect her from
Before I had hope that others
Also wanted to protect her
That the village could help me when
She went out into the world alone
Look after her
Hold her close, cover her
Not care about her race or

But now half the village wants to destroy her
Wants to arm the spinning compasses
And protect them, not her, in the law
Justify their platform of hate
And ridicule her right to exist and rebel

The other half has been blind
And complacent
Shrouded in the misconception
That people will prioritize
Goodness over money
Love over power
Compassion over hate

I was blind
I too am to blame
And now there is no protection
No protection

Now I just hope that my cries are heard by others
And understood
Not as whining or pettiness
But as the truth of my protest
A genuine terror for the future
A pain of a mother who
Doesn’t want to cry over something worse
Like the loss of her young daughter’s
Or her hopefulness
Or her trust in humanity
Or her life

Now I hope others will see
As I see
That we must change the future
Or she, all the she’s and he’s like her, will be the cost