A Poem for Kalief

by Angela Souza

I just learned your name
And I’ll never forget your story Kalief,
My heart aches for you
My mind rages with fury Kalief,
You are more than the inevitable hashtag you’ve become
More than another black face doomed to a miserable demise
More than our sighs accompanied by our collective and familiar sentiments of despair
More than another black boy dead –
A meaningless casualty of a broken, corrupt, tainted, justice system
More than this week’s headline, a soon-to-be forgotten story
You are more than the box they put you in.
You are potential stolen
A life gone too soon
A forgotten “American” son
Dreams dashed, pain ingrained
A testament to the importance of
paying mind to our mental health
You are the young man who walked over an hour
to make it to your GED class everyday
You are the promising student who rode his bike daily
to Bronx Community College,
excited about continuing your education
You are more. You are more. You were MORE.
You are another fallen son.
And right now,
My tears, pain, and rage are for you.
Because I know that you were more than the cards they dealt you.
You deserved more.

Photo: ABC News

Angela Souza is passionate about the healing ability of storytelling through writing. She exercises this passion through her own writings, which include poetry, essays, and a marriage blog that offers advice to newlyweds. You can find more of her work at Love Notes Blog. Angela is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Religious Studies from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. She resides there with her two beautiful sons, Noah and Ezra, and husband Omari.