The boy is twelve, maybe fourteen,
course, curly hair cut close to the scalp,
his skin is dark, the genetic dark of generations spent
roaming savannahs under a hard sun.
Now he roams rough streets in a hard neighborhood,
more often hungry than the ancestor with a spear,
more often afraid of the lurking predator,
more often alone, with no tribe for protection.
He dreams of escape from this life he did not choose,
to run from this place of hardship and fear
to where lines of difference are blurred
and seeking betterment is not betrayal.
At night, when he flees through his dreams,
a hand grasp him with a grip like a shackle,
refusing him the escape for which he longs,
a hand with the same dark skin as his own.
Ekphrastic of a Seattle Mural
By Artist Alex Gardner