A Letter to the Parents of Trayvon Martin

With apologies to Walt Whitman, Lonnie Shaw contains true multitudes. He is a transgender activist, a person with disabilities, a proud black poet, a survivor of the state, a social justice warrior, a heartbreaking elegist, and quite possibly the funniest writer I know. His first chapbook, Rainbow Man Enters the Ring, has been celebrated by local legends like Roy Guzmán.

In his second chapbook, Trayvon Martin, Lonnie moves from deadly serious to wildly imaginative to laugh-out-loud hilarious, sometimes in the scope of a single poem. Like one his favorite poets, Danez Smith, Lonnie is able to mourn the present while also calling forth a future where black boys are no longer hunted and imperiled. He asked me to share this poem with you:

Following Lonnie’s Lead,