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Toy Story Memorial

By Danielle P. Williams

[Editor’s note: This week marks six years since the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. To commemorate the work of this movement, we are publishing a piece by Danielle P. Williams reflecting on the case of Tamir Rice.]


Twelve years ain’t a man, Tamir.
Your mother says while laughing

After you tell her you think you’re man 
Enough to go to the park by yourself. 

You close your eyes, repeat her laugh 
In your head – your favorite sound, and 

Smile back at her, face gleaming from ear to ear.
You tell her you want to be a superhero,

Or maybe an astronaut,
Or maybe a soldier, or maybe a boy

Playing at the park, pretending to grow up
Pretending to be anything but dead.

But we all know better than that.
You’re a smart kid.

You’re a black boy. A treasure 
Until bullets loot your bones.

Don’t you know they can 
Take us at any moment?

Even the ones where you 
Almost feel safe.

Twelve years ain’t a man, Tamir.
They don’t give a damn, Tamir.


Danielle P. Williams is a writer from Columbia, South Carolina. She earned her BA from Elon University in Arts Administration and is a MFA candidate in Poetry at George Mason University. Williams strives to write poetry that gives a voice to unrepresented cultures. She has a passion for understanding and connecting with the past, and makes it a point to expand on the different narratives and experiences of her own cultures. Her poetry is featured online in Scalawag Magazine, All The Sins, and The Write Launch.

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