glass under their feet, part 1 {kenya series}

“your baby wants you”

and then hand him off to me

he has learned to hold his arms out

when he sees my face

and the afternoons of watching him try to walk

learning his smile – the smile that is shy and proud

and never reaches his absent eyes

and holding him to my heart when he cries

trying to absorb his pain into myself

i feel every tiny sob

like he is knitting our souls together

i want to save him

(by putting him in danger?)

i want to take him away

(from the place where he belongs?)

and daily i fight the instinct

to protect him from this place

where there is glass under his feet

every step could cut him wide open

and the sheer terror of knowing

i can only watch

as he gets hurt

only listen to his pain

only pray for hope to accompany trauma

because my rescue – so tempting

would put new glass, invisible but sharp

under my baby’s feet

the glass of white privilege and racism

of being a minority in my world

glass like people never understanding him

the glass of not knowing his people,

his culture, his language,

of having roots

even if his are damaged

the glass of a mama who looks different

who doesn’t get it

and this is his home,

my heart cries.

he’ll learn to walk soon

he will learn Swahili, a language i do not have

maybe he forgets me

maybe leaving isn’t forever and i get to hold him again

but he belongs here

even with the glass

because i can’t do better

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