When is Daddy Coming Back?

Death row inmate Marcus Robinson listens in 2012 as a judge concludes that racial bias played a role when he was sentenced to death. Robinson was resentenced to life, but he was sent back to death row years later after the state's Racial Justice Act was repealed. (RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER / MCT VIA GETTY IMAGES).

A Poem about Racial Injustice
By Hannah M. Childs

Hannah is a freshman at Northwest High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. She enjoys writing, drawing, playing the piano, singing and spending time with her brother watching anime.

The grass was green, the pond was blue, I was happy, and my daddy was too.
He looked at me and smiled, I did the same.
This was truly a happy day.
Flashing lights approached us, red and blue, Those lights were beautiful, I would later regret thinking.
A man came out in blue, he seemed mean.
My daddy smiled at me and talked to the man for a while, Until he never came back.
He went with the man, with his hands behind his back.
I wonder, when is daddy coming back?
Mama ran to me, in tears, yelling something awful.
I went home, confused and curious, Mama went home, angry and on the phone.
When is daddy coming back?
Days passed, then weeks, he still didn’t come back.
Months passed, my heart filled with anger, Our dad left us, for the man in blue.
Mama cried, I cried too.
We did not know what to do.
Months later, we went to a room, A big room, with lots of people, A big man sat in a big chair, he had a hammer.
A lady asked, how old are you? I put two fingers up.
Tears went down her face, I wondered why? I then saw daddy, I smiled.
I knew he didn’t leave us after all.
Daddy looked at me with sadness in his eyes, but he still smiled. I was in that room, for days it seemed.
Too much talking, I couldn’t understand any of it.
Then I heard the big man with the hammer say GUILTY!
He slammed that hammer with a passion.
I jumped from my seat and saw mama crying loudly.
Mama jumped up and yelled, she yelled louder than before.
I covered my ears, I was scared.
Everything went like a blur, too much was going on.
But one thing I remember was seeing mama.
She was lying on the floor, and she said one thing to me.
Baby, your daddy is gone.
It wasn’t until my days got shorter, and I got older, I truly understood what she meant.
Daddy didn’t leave us, the blue man took him away from us, For no reason whatsoever.

5 Comments

  1. “When is Daddy Coming Back”? It was sincere and heart-wrenching as the words told the story of a young girl’s recollection of when her daddy was arrested. I felt she didn’t fully understand the magnitude of what was going on until later. It helped me unequivocally develop a perspective from the eyes of a child as she wondered when her daddy was coming back.

  2. This poem truly has o much emotion and depth behind it. People being torn from their day to day lives, their families, their jobs. What about any of that sounds fair? Due to racial injustice within our justice system things like this happen with no repercussions to anyone but the families involved. It’s not fair and this beautifully written poem truly brought a major issue to light.

  3. This poem was extremely powerful. It shows what it is like from the child’s point of view when someone of color is accused of something they may have not done. Often we don’t think about how a child will be affected by things that they see or hear. We think that they are too young to understand or remember what is happening. I have learned in my personal experience that children can remember traumatic events from a very young age. Law enforcement should do better by the children and be more discreet in front of them at least.

  4. This poem is beautiful and you can feel the emotion coming from it. The poem brings to light how families are being pulled apart because of racial injustice. It is not fair to the children who do not fully understand what is going on with their parents.

  5. This poem was powerful and it was extremely well written. This brings attention to wrongful conviction and especially that with people of color. There is a lot of unjust in the system towards people of color. This family did not deserve to be torn apart like this and that girl did not deserve to lose her daddy

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