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Letters to Philando Castile Family and slain Dallas Police and Families by Youth

BY PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

I’ve been teaching a writing class with the youth from our Young Leaders Program at St. Paul’s this summer. Last Wednesday we wrote letters to Philando Castile and his family, and to the slain Dallas policemen and their families. Really powerful writing by African-American and Latino/a youth. A lot will be in the next issue of The Phoenix of Phillips literary magazine. Here is one of my offerings, an epistolary poem to the 4-year old girl who saw her mother’s boyfriend killed by the police.

Dear Dae Dae,

BY PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

Dear Dae Dae,

Not every sound
will scare you forever.
Not every voice
will be a weapon
so loud it will
shatter the ear drums
of your heart.
There will be birds
singing for their friends
from that special tree
in the playground you love,
the ice cream truck
will saunter down your street
on summer evenings,
and you will hear
your own voice saying,
“Mommy, can I have one,
Mommy, please, I’ll
be good, I’ll stay out
of trouble, I promise,”
and there will be nights
when almost all the sound
has gone out of the world,
and all you will hear
will be the crickets
chirping in the yard,
and you will wrap
yourself in your mother’s arms,
and hear the sweet sound
of both of you,
softly crying.

[Facebook Post by Patrick Cabello Hansel on July 19, 2016]

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