I’ve been largely silent regarding the issue of Trayvon Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s acquittal. As a white woman living in Boston, I don’t see the ongoing effects of racism in the same way that I did when I was living on the north side of Poughkeepsie, or growing up in a housing project in Stamford. But racism still affects me and those I love. I’d like to take a moment to honor the friends and loved ones whom I know deal with racism on a daily basis — and the friends and loved ones I never met or never got to know well because of the racist and segregated society in which I live.
From a New York Times editorial published July 14, 2013:
While Mr. Zimmerman’s conviction might have provided an emotional catharsis, we would still be a country plagued by racism, which persists in ever more insidious forms despite the Supreme Court’s sanguine assessment that “things have changed dramatically,” as it said in last month’s ruling striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act.
Sudden violence (is there any other kind?) throws the world into sharp relief. Horror that doesn’t speak but roars in the head like the ocean. Magnolias blooming under the crescent moon.
It gives things the proper perspective, too.
Last night, laying on the bed, talking to my mother on the phone while Army Guy relaxed next to me, the younger cat purring between us, I felt utter contentment.
This morning I woke at 6:00 am to take down the emergency update on the hospital website that I maintain. Cortisol shot me awake, makes me drained and snappy today. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and lovely. The Copley Square area is closed from Mass Ave to Berkeley. Did they wash the pavement clean? Will they find who did this? Will the cycle of violence continue, into the end of the time? Is peace just a pipe dream, like dreaming for the end of hunger, the end of darkness?
All things in sharp relief, from one moment to the next.
the open window
and learning not to fear it
we lost our sisters in the forest
now they gather in the back,
their voices shrill and loud
they don’t seem to have aged
but we have
when did we trade the forest
for this dry museum?
where is the way out?
must we exit through the gift shop
or is there another doorway
we have yet to find?
For five extra minutes you follow the path
through mayapple, sarsaparilla and anxiety
over a little hill and through
what might be blueberry and poison ivy
with beech and oak and maple rustling overhead
to a pond, a flooded field really
and the curl of wind over its flat surface
and the beaten-down dried rushes
and a barrier of stones
upon which rests
a butterfly with black, gold-tipped wings
thirty seconds later, you turn to see
the Riverside Line cross,
two green trolleys
over the silent water
mind open and kindly toward
flat water, screaming children,
wind moving across the water
when the chainsaw falls still
flash of red
against black wings