The Age of Innocence

Shavon Coleman


As I wake up in the morning I feel the sunshine on my face

And I’m instantly taken back to the time of my youth

When the warmth of the season heated my body and my spirit

And the countless smiling blacks faces unaware of our economic plight

The way life was breathed into the land

Showing us down south has beauty too

The anxiousness and confusion of growing up

My breasts growing large and pert

Heightened sexual activity

It’s all in the air, but kept secret from the old Negro souls

That’s what made it the age of innocence

And as I stare in the eyes of my granddaughter I want to tell her

Confess, scream let her know I understand

I want to tell her of the nights at the juke joint

When Converse sneakers really only cost a nickel

15 children in one house

My twin drinking herself to death

Almost being raped by the man next door

Having a baby out of wedlock

The sorrow of leaving home

Messing with a married man

Eventually marrying him myself

Raising three beautiful children

Under a roof of abuse

Seeing her being born

Having to bury the second man I ever loved

All my hopes and fears resting inside of her

I want her to know I’ve been where she has and back

Let her know that my spirit is hers

That though I am silent I speak from my heart

As I look at my granddaughter I see myself

A rose is rose is a rose

And as I watch and see her mature I know

That the age of hidden innocence is not over like I thought

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790