Poem by Parneshia Jones • Photo
by Marysia Wojtaszek
Georgia on My Mind
--for the children who perished in the Atlanta child murders, 1979-1982
The children become ancestors
in the Georgia night.
Mamas and daddies
up all hours
looking for their murdered
angels with mutilated wings.
Kiss our mothers for us.
Some were never found,
their bones swept under moss trees.
Children’s cries sweat
on the foreheads of fathers
sleeping with nightmares.
Mothers scream in their pillows,
not wanting to close their eyes
to see the dead faces of their children.
Tell our fathers we love them.
We still search for them,
still believe they will come
back to us smelling of burnt peaches
and baby’s breath, fresh and dewy-eyed,
unharmed and happy, we still pray
they will come to us in the night.
And we do,
the lost children of Atlanta.
We remember the sounds of you vanishing,
the sounds of your father’s hearts on fire,
and your mothers’ wombs bursting.