that morning you awoke to wrinkled wrists skin not smooth as the night before in the light too muted for morning a sparrow’s song seemed unfinished writing came dressed in made-for-television sentences warped grammar allowing a mere rant in 80 characters
you who can no longer make tears weep silently for every miscreant act against humanity every enslavement lynching rape of humanity
your eighth decade remains raw inside the choke-hold memory of the normalcy of it all in the great slave-holding state of Virginia cops stop traffic for an endangered snake slithering across the road but what else could a good cop do a red hawk sails above the tree line on a chimney pot a robin struts
Colleen J. McElroy lives in Seattle, Washington. Winner of the Before Columbus American Book Award for Queen of the Ebony Isles, McElroy’s poetry books include Here I Throw Down My Heart (finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award, the Walt Whitman Award, the Phyllis Wheatley Award, and the Washington State Governor’s Book Award) and Blood Memory (finalist for the 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize).