Art by Lidia Altagracia



The tone of my voice

won’t allow me to start



I read a book about introverts this morning

and shared Rosa Parks’ dilemma;


I read the latest news about Ahmaud this afternoon,

couldn’t breathe,

couldn’t sleep

for days;


Grabbed a knife and 


Took my anger out       on the entirety 

                                             of a large yellow onion,


remembering first grade when a white boy

stopped talking to me after his father spotted

my skin color holding his hand as we waited

for rides after school.


But adding faces to the archives while

at the protest in Jackson Square,


I am memory             of cold glares greeting me

                                         after defiant invitations 

                                         from white high school friends,                       



Eyes                              witnessing purgatory,



Ears                               for the whispers before 

                                        they resort to shouts,



Hands                           turning pages, lending paperbacks

                                        For the expansion. 


The tone of my voice

won’t allow me to start 



I am                               finishing the chapter about Rosa Parks,

                                        finding the footsteps

                                        where she first planted the bomb with silence. 



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