By Katelyn Rivas

It’s February in Flint, Michigan and children will
make paper heart valentines.
Red, pink and purple paper
with “Be Mine” written in marker.
They will hold in their lead-filled tears
for now,
save them for a squeaky swing set on a Sunday,
for a hospital bed in fifty years.
This all could have been avoided,
said Dan Wyant, former Quality Director, Department of Environmental Quality.
This like all forms of hate could have been completely avoidable.
Just like the 3,446 lynchings of black people in Mississippi.
Just like the 10,000 Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Muscogee, Chickasaw and Choctaw
who were forced out of their ancestral homeland.
Just like the man in blue with a gun who is gray with lightning,
and the yellow thunder that follows only seconds behind. ■



Katelyn Rivas is a warrior poet, community organizer, teaching artist and freedom dreamer living in Detroit, Michigan. She is the founder and director of The Free Black Women’s Library-Detroit.Her poetry has appeared in Tayo Literary, The Mudroom Blog, The Offbeat, The LightKeeper, Primary School Blog, and Fight Evil with Poetry. 

Cover image by Dane (creative commons).

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