Poem by Siobhan Pascal '16

April 12, 2016 by Guest Student Author

The Unchanging Nights


I am a mother, skin black as night--

Sitting, waiting nervously outside my home.

Worried for my sons,

Worried that colourless ghosts will snatch them

                                                                 Shackle them

                                                                 March them away

                                                                 to the coast and gone forever.

The nights are long and the waits are agonizing…


I am a mother, skin brown as the tobacco I pick--

sitting, waiting nervously outside the quarters.

Worried for my son,

worried that he stared at slavemaster’s wife too long

                or not long enough,

                that his politeness would not make up for his blackness,

worried that slavemaster will snatch him

                                                      whip him

                                                      break him

                                                      burn him

The cotton plants bend in the breeze and the wait is agonizing…


I am a mother, skin still too dark for a paper bag test--

sitting, waiting nervously on my front porch.

Worried for my son,

Worried that he looked like too much of a threat

                 that he looked like too easy of a target

                 that his neck looked like a good fit for a noose,

Worried that nightmares dressed in white

with pointy hats will snatch him

                                       beat him

                                       break him

                                       lynch him.

The Klan’s chants dance on my ears and the wait is agonizing…


I am a mother, skin don't matter just know my son is black.

I sit, waiting nervously, listening to the news.

Worried for my son and yours,

worried that he looked too black, too scary

                that he wore his hoodie up to get skittles

                that he went to church and welcomed a stranger

                that he jay walked or ran a stoplight,

(We don't let him play with toy guns anymore)

Worried that men in blue will snatch him

                                                       shoot him

                                                       beat him

                                                       lose him

                                                       or let him die by the hands of another white man.

The nights are still so long and the wait is still so agonizing.


Is it  1706?



                   or 2016?

I am not a mother

and I do not think that’ll ever change,

nor will the worry or the fear.

I am a sister and I am afraid.

I am a black female and I am tired of the wait.


Written by Guest Student Author

Periodically students volunteer or are asked to write for the Stoneleigh-Burnham blog.

Filed Under: student voice, Poetry, National Poetry Month, Education