Columns, Poetry, Poetry Archive

I Imagine Him Small | Li Yun Alvarado

I dream of my son:
tiny, all flesh & fat,

cuddles & mushy
little hands. I imagine him

small. Dependent on my
milk, he’s untouchable,

shielded by bosom
& back. My caution &

luck – acquired & made.
If I keep him

small, not twelve
playing in a park—

Star Wars, light sabers
ablaze, his skin sweaty

& brown, I can keep him
safe. Before the gaze. Before

his name turns #hashtag.
Did Tamir’s mother

remember him small?
Tucked at her breast?

Curled in bed, hidden
in that universe of two

where she & he are
the whole world & no one

ever has to ask whether
Black Lives Matter?

Li Yun Alvarado is the author of the chapbooks Words or Water and Nuyorico, CA. A poet and scholar, her work has appeared in Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education; The Acentos Review; PMS Poemmemoirstory; and Cura: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action, among others. She has served as the Senior Poetry Editor for Kweli Journal and is an alumna of VONA/Voices Writing Workshop and AROHO. Li Yun is a native New Yorker living in Long Beach, California who takes frequent trips to Salinas, Puerto Rico to visit la familia.

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