The Voice of Mrs. Brown
by Joyce Wilson
Ferguson, Missouri, August 9, 2014
That day, Mrs. Brown spoke up her mind.
Her neighbor held her arms to keep her from
Falling against the crowds and reporters
So that she would not be denied the chance
To tell about her son, who lay nearby.
She asked, Do you know how ha-ard it was?
Do you know how ha-ard it was to keep
My son in school? To get him to finish?
To tell him it was good to graduate?
Twelve years of classes, diploma, and then––
Do you know how ha-ard it was for him
To do the work for credit and degree?
Where praise is private, for the family,
Do you know how ha-ard it is? she cried,
To educate a young black man in this
Small town of Ferguson, in Missouri?
Where city planning schemed to drive us out
From downtown residence, and jobs, and stores,
To suburbs where we couldn’t work, couldn’t
Drive, couldn’t shop, and couldn’t leave?
We have the village here to raise this child.
We have his mother here. His teachers here.
Police are here. The law is here. Do
Know how very hard that it was? she cried,
To tell him that he shouldn’t lie? Decide
Each day to make his effort worth a try?
To eat his breakfast, take the test? To rest?
Do you know how ha-ard it was? she cried.
He had the motivation and the pride.
He worked for that diploma. Then he died.
Copyright © 2018 by Joyce Wilson.