I am afraid to walk my dog

I am afraid to walk my dog
our black bodies are magnets
Our race and breed categorized as dangerous
we are a double threat
with our broad grins
and curious eyes
always sniffing out
some new blessing
until we are accosted
white hands on my chest
pushing me back
white people standing all around me, silent
and I have to reign myself in
I am not allowed to react
to this violent provocation
because they will label justification
irrational, they will blame the race and the breed
my friend will protect me if I show my fear
if I feel ill at ease
if whiteness attacks
I must relax
It attacks so much
we cross the street
a white man yells, “Hey sis, keep him away from me
if he comes for me I’m coming for him”
I shout across, “I’m not your sis”
My dog barks and I praise him, and shout again at the man and pull myself away
a white woman’s dog attacks mine,
She screams at me to leave the park
A public place where dogs come to play
and get in fights. all. the time
White people standing all around me, silent
another white man kicks my dog,
he left open the gate
my dog ran in and he kicked him away
because that’s what white men do to feel strong
they kick and they beat and they justify
I screamed at this large white man
I asked him if it made him feel good, kicking a dog
if it made him feel proud
he told me to leave, go back where I came from
in this public place
white people standing all around me, silent
We walk down the street, white women jump away
remember, we are just going about our day
doing what we love to do
enjoying nature’s gifts
soaking up the sun, or running in the rain
the story is always the same
they’re threatened by our presence
they’re threatened when we push back
I get up early, push my sweet pup off the bed
and take him outside, because there are less people
Fewer dangers, pretend that I am a morning person
That popping up is what I really want to do
We love rest
We love ease
I contort our routine around my fear