Belladonna’s Shade

Written by J. Varina and Kristen Suzette

“Nightshade was a medicinal plant used to dilate eyes, making pupils enlarge to the point of blinding light. One particular type is Belladonna’s nightshade which is primarily known for it’s usage in suicide…”

The truth is, parents lie.
They told us, we were different
That black meant beautiful
Or brave
But now flames are extinguished
Before reaching ten candles on a birthday cake
Light fading quick
Like joy that was once nestled in hearts

Souls, too young to be brothers and sisters,
Children at best
Who’ve decided that suffering
Is the true nature of life
So they end it.
Faster than hands being raised during hymnals
Or bullets being loaded into police pistols
Studies say it’s access to guns
But maybe it’s the denial of God
Shutting eyes that were once watching Him
For this world is too dark
Or too white

Fear rising as mothers pray in response to new reports
Fathers having one too many talks about the nature of the world
While the feeling of Inferiority is slipped into classroom lectures,
Laced through the chalk dust from the board,
Stained in the scent of the finger paint
But the teachers are all too busy fussing about broken crayons
Than about the broken children trying to draw blue skies and bright suns,
When their eyes have already forgotten what that picture looks like.

We bear pure spirits, meant to grow and thrive
In a world that does not love the black pigment in their skin,
And places a target on their backs in the nursery.
We fight and we struggle to push our children ahead,
Groom them in love and in light
Teach them to be smart and strong
Because being so is better than crying about being unheard,
Better than being a victim to your mind’s own illness.
Prayer and strength,
Seem to be the only pieces of advice we can offer
Because depression ain’t real… because the devil is a lie
“Be strong, black child!”
If you are not, Death might find you faster
Death’s arms will be the only warm, open limbs tangible enough
To hug the pain away, to hush your cries, to bring it all to an end.

And children,
Should not know Death
But are quickly becoming familiar
Like our ancestors necks with woven ropes
Single bodies, double knotted around the jugular,
now the hanging rate is three times as high
They dangle from these same poplar trees
Strange fruit not yet ripened by the world
Still bearing the innocence we all crave

Fresh ground unearthed,
new tombstones and white lilies sprinkle graveyards.
Old souls welcome the young ones in,
They, too, mourning the early arrival of babies
You don’t belong here, baby.
The earth has not known your pace long enough
Your feet have not imprinted through the ground
Nor have the skies gotten to know your smile well
The unapologetic darkness found you before light could,
Your pure soul was suffocated by the stench of failure,
Neglect, ignorance and denial
And no one taught you how to breathe.

Who does the fault lie with?
Those who share the same shade of skin?
They say magic is in melanin,
But when these spells turn to curses
Death wishes are cast into the sky
Like pennies forgotten at the bottom of the well
Have we forgotten?
They say to train up a child,
And they will never stray
Then why are we still making coffins
For those who just left the womb?

Our children have overdosed on nightshade
Causing them to sleep eternally
Instead of revealing the hidden beauty of the world
Pupils must be taught to seek the light
Or they will forever observe darkness
And darkness is the end
How quickly our future became the past

So Fathers

Open your eyes

Mothers

Open your eyes

And save our children from silence of suicide.

 

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