The Forecast for Cleveland, May 6th, 2013

--for Amanda, Gina, Michelle, & Charles Ramsey

A stretch of insanely

             followed by a week

of pure. A Black man kicks

             down a door, & three

trembling women, for

             the first time in years,

taste spring. 95% chance

             of lilac. 5% chance

the magnolia’s cups

             will fill with May snow

& snap a muscled

             branch. The tree will survive.

The trembling three

             spent their Odyssey

in a single locked room.

            What happened there remains

outside the lines

             of this poem. Today,

Amanda at the front door,

             & Charles Ramsey

heard her crying & busted

             in the storm:

I knew something was wrong

             when a pretty little white girl

jumped into a Black man’s arms.

             & how his eyes darted

sidewise at the police siren—

             the weather of white men.

1% chance of lightning.

             One had her face remade

from repeated beatings.

             One forgot how to speak

her mother’s tongue. One changed

             her name to Lilly Rose.

33% chance of crazy.

             95% chance of nightmare.

5% chance of burnt joy.

             On the other side of this

hurt city, I clutch

             my daughters, warn them

about the dangers of trust.

             They scowl & nod

back into their dream

             where fairies hide

in trees, out of sight

             of grown-ups.

In the driveway, 10% chance

             I’ll make all my shots

in Around the World,

             a game in which nothing

will be discovered,

             & no one will be killed.

What chance we’ll forget

             your names, Amanda,

Gina, Michelle. What chance

             you can turn

to the lovely upcoming.