A Mother’s Plea

By Jen Anderson

Today, raising my voice
means raising a son.
Pulling the silver spoons
from his ears, long
enough for him to hear
more than
just the noise
(the racket)
that hate makes.
Peeling back his rose-
petaled lids to see more
than just the scowling
brows of mad men — 
fury leaking
from their lips.

Today, raising my voice,
means raising the bar
when you say
boys will be boys
rough and tumble
sweaty and strong
muscles rippling
fists gripping
feelings tucked like
ammo, deep
in the pockets
of camo coats.
When you write
permission slips
to entitlement.

Today, raising my voice
means raising my catcher’s mitt
to help this boy of mine
dodge the zings and stings
(the “manly” things)
that your script says
he should be. To
nurture this gentle
sponge I see.
To shout down your mob
that’s riddled with wounds
and those sound
bites so|

Today, raising my
voice means entering
a plea. To the mothers
of sons. To me.
That we equip our
boys with pens.
That we grab their fists
tightly as the ink spills out,
whispering to them
that words do matter.
That, when woven
in thoughtful ways
a more powerful
and purposeful script
can slide from our grip

and into the broken spaces.