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4 minutes reading time (821 words)

Chatham, In Two parts

Chatham-Poem-1

Poet explores life & loss on Chicago's South Side

Part One

I miss you on nights like these

where there is either fireworks

or gunshots in the air

along with July's humidity

As I drive by I see families out playing and laughing with each other and

it's sad because all I can think about is you

How you

had that ability to make every place feel like home

and for that simple reason I never felt

alone

I miss coming to your burgundy house on 87th street

and seeing your chocolate skin

and that great big smile that lit up the room

I miss your cooking and your Famous Mac and Cheese that you used to bake on the holidays Grandma do you remember how we used to go to the

Chatham

Movie

Theater

every Friday with Ms. Kittles and her granddaughter after you picked me up from school

We used to make sure we hid the candy we had because we were too cheap to buy the candy at the show

I always looked forward to those days

I remember how you used to take me up to the

Tuley Park Library

and we take more books out than I could read

or on Sunday Mornings when we would get up to go to Apostolic on 6320 S Dorchester Ave back when bishop was preaching I used to watch you put on your lipstick and blush and I always admired how you would put yourself together

I remember my mouth would be watering after church knowing I would be getting something nice and greasy from Church's or KFC down the street

I loved when the Summer hit

and I would wait anxiously to hear the ice cream truck coming down the block as I was getting the little money I had ready

I knew the ice cream man was laughing getting rich off of us kids

I know you remember Ms. Norse your next door neighbor and how her two sons would help you around the house

I used to go to your house after school and you would try to help me with my math Homework but you would end up calling Morgan my cousin for help

I miss the petty little arguments we used to get into

We would always go back and forth

Grandma I wish I could hug you right now and tell you everything that's been going on since you left but I'll see you in my dreams for now


Part Two

I remember the day when we lost you.

It was raining that day and

I remember Auntie Marquita picked me and Kiara up from the hair salon and

we were confused so confused as to what to what was happening

until she tells me that all of the Family is already at the hospital

I think no one actually right out and said that you were close to your last breath

I guess they didn't because they didn't want to freak us out

but it didn't stop the gut feeling that I had known something wasn't right

So we get there and we wait in the waiting area and it's filled with familiar faces

looking as though they were anticipating something

and then we go to your room I see you hooked up on all these different tubes in this big room. On the doors it said "Intensive Care"

I was so shocked that I ended up having a delayed reaction

because everything was happening so quickly when I looked at you

your eyes were wide open

but you seemed like you weren't there

like you seemed disconnected

So I remember I held your hand and by the next day you had passed

Ever since then it's been weird just trying to go through the motions.

I felt so unbalanced and out of place I can't go back and pretend that everything's okay

Cause it's not

No more going to your house and seeing you in the kitchen cooking

Or making your famous green or carrot juices asking me to try it even though I knew it was nasty you told me it was good for me

Or how we used to chill in your room and watch "Friday" as we laughed hysterically or what about those random Target runs we made up the street on Cottage Grove as we were munching on Popcorn from the food court

I'll miss Sunday mornings coming over to your house And getting ready to go to Church

No more visiting your brother Uncle Sonny's restaurant over East on 95th street

I remember we spent your last birthday over Uncle Brent's house on Vernon

That day we just chilled downstairs in the basement

Watching Madea

Eating Cake

I'll miss our summer cookouts in your famous white t-shirt

With your cute brown sandals

Going to Cole Park and walking around the track

Then I thought to myself

"Who will cheer me on on those days were I felt like I couldn't go on?"

Then that thought scared me

and I remember what you would've told me

"Be Strong"


This is a story about the Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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If you are an employer, you can hire young people at risk. If you are a community leader, you can help improve police-community relations. If you are a health care provider, you can support trauma-informed care to gun violence victims. If you are a funder, you can support any one of these efforts. Whatever you do, your voice matters when you speak up in support of policies that can make our neighborhoods safer. Reach out to learn more.

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