Dontae L. Martin, 34: Dayton, OH

October 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


by s. Nicholas


Dontae Martin with family Dontae Martin with his family.

JULY 23, 2015

in memory of Dontae L. Martin

Dontae Martin died on Thursday
while I was teaching the craft of writing
to boys who’ve made mistakes. Boys
with guarded smiles
and important things to say.

He was the same age as my littlest brother
and the same color.

I can call my brother today, say,
How are those babies of yours?
Hear his voice say, Hey sis.
Dontae’s children will only have
the memory of what his voice was
and after a while it will fade
like a distant siren, like laughter
through the wind and they’ll strain
to hear it.

Maybe they will grow up angry,
like the boys in my class.
Because their mama is worn
from heartache and their father’s death
was ruled a homicide. One 
life taken by another. Maybe
it will be tough to teach them that law
enforcement is supposed to protect them.
Maybe they will see their father, lifeless
in the driver’s seat of that car, every time
they see an officer in uniform.

I wonder if he was thinking of their names
as the officers killed him. His six children. Thinking of
each of their names as they shot him six, seven,
eight, nine, ten times.

Because time slows down
in moments like that, allows us
to see, and time will slow
for Dontae’s family every time
they remember but not enough
to stop the bullets, not enough
to bring him back.


s. Nicholas lives and teaches in Lake Arrowhead, California.
Posted with permission from the poet.



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