On Legacy as a Fade

After Warsan Shire

My barber maps out my fade in thirds

Wraps the thin white strip around my neck

Points to each emerging gray and says

I see the wisdom there for your son

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And his son’s son and his

Future son

Later that night

The future version of myself arrives

In a dream, speaking only

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With the eyes we share.

He points to a beautiful but

Stubborn garden

Where our tribe digs up soil with discontent.

(Levern Nichols Jr. for The Baltimore Banner)

My son’s son

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From beholding our face

Holds in his palm breathing seeds

Bludgeoning a signal with his lips

To hush, pointing to where

Our bloodline digs against resistance.

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The women with whom I share my bed with

Who is not my wife

Awakes me out of cold sweats and this nightmare.

Her love is an autumn tree drying

Into winter leaves and branches.

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Our egos sound like a storm.

She says the word family

But all I hear is lightning

From her mouth.

Wallace Lane is part of The Baltimore Banner's Creatives in Residence program, which amplifies the work of artists and writers from the Baltimore region. 

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