Walking with Wilson | Kenneth Lee Smith
Since we washed up on the shores
of the Hummingbird Family Housing Center
Wilson don’t walk with us no more.
In the folds of these city canyons
he taught us to scrape our soles
hard on the white sidewalks
just to make a sound,
a people noise
so they don’t forget we’re here,
always walking beneath the slanted sun.
Mama said Wilson’s eyes
was the second best gift God ever gave.
She smiled down at me,
I knew what she meant.
Last Saturday, the food bank ran out of turkey.
Us hungry trudged up the hill
to the Catholic place.
I got to taste the cotton candy air
on Wilson’s broad shoulders
as he carried me.
Up there, I cried without noise.
I didn’t want him to know
I loved being off the ground,
the ground, if he could, he’d grow roots to.
Under the bridge
him and Mama
would rub elbows in the dark
even on nights stuffed with black.
I could tell when Wilson’s strawberry eyes
would guide Mama to a soft landing.
He was all ours,
our tall hanging tree
till we got “lucky.”
Got the call
a place with a door we could lock,
a place that didn’t take men,
We don’t walk with Wilson no more.