An “Ode to De’Kayla” inspired by Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” as rerecorded by jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis
By John W. Fountain
Tyesa, Rashonda, Diamond, Tionda.
Hadiya, Heaven, Frances, Kaylyn.
Jonylah, Tanaja, Tiara, De’Kayla.
…Daughters gone too soon. Somehow we failed you.
Ain’t no sunshine standing in the crosshairs. Baby girl brown eyes. Pearly whites in the sun’s glare. Braided jump rope slappin’ hard concrete. Double Dutch singin’ while Evil--thirsting blood--creeps.
Ice-cold demons ‘round here never ever seem to sleep. They got me screaming from the mountain peaks: Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…
Clear blue skies quickly turn to cloudy-day cries. Steel-jacketed bullets rain. And our little brown girls die.
Now they lay their souls to sleep. I pray the Lord their souls to keep. But if we don’t rise before they wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. ‘Cause ain’t no sunshine.