I grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, and was educated at Stanford University (B.A., English) and the University of Minnesota (M.A., English). I started writing poetry when I was a child and never stopped. For the past thirty years, I’ve lived in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I teach and consult with arts organizations on their plans and programs. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate in receiving some awards for my poetry, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. My fifth book of poetry, Between Us, will be released in 2016. Visit my website at www.MargaretHasse.com
Come Home, Our Sons
Come home, our sons, young drivers,
tell us you’re safe, not detained again
by police for your dark color,
sprocketed hair, and a crime
you didn’t commit.
Maybe your car’s the wrong make
or rusty in a neighborhood
where cars park in garages at night.
Once, when you saw a squad car
you remembered Officer Smiley
and his dog that did tricks
in read-aloud books at J.J. Hill School.
Now, as you reach for your license
with shaking hands, tension raises
the chance something will go wrong.
This poem is for you, sons,
and for everyone who is afraid--
citizens of police, police of citizens.
It’s for Philando Castile,
a black school lunch supervisor
in an inner city school
who memorized children’s names
and their food allergies.
And it’s for the policeman
who stopped a car with a damaged taillight.
After he used his gun, his voice broke
like a frightened child’s.
Come home, sons, to mothers like me,
alert at night waiting for car lights
to beam in front of our house,
for the car to belong to our sons,
and our sons
to still belong to the world.
-from Between Us (Nodin Press, 2016)
©2016 Margaret Hasse
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