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bitter crop

By Kelli Stevens Kane

blueberry blackberry as always
bleeding, back road or boulevard,
our boy crowned with baton,
breathing, barely, if you
believe the breeze is just
air blowing through branches

above the fruited plain

have a seat. when our baby left
we believed he'd come back
in his body. we believed
youngberries grew
into elderberries. but now,
when the wind blows
against your necks, know it's him,
you feel him now that he's up

above the fruited plain

don't you? I hate pavement, I hate summer,
I hate yellow tape, I hate chokeberry,
pokeberry, the way it'll always be too late
to comfort him. the way I'll never dare to say
I hate you back
to our strange America that only protects the few

above the fruited plain

              -- for Michael Brown and

Added: Friday, January 16, 2015  /  Kane reads her poem in solidarity with BlackPoetsSpeakOut. Used with permission.
Kelli Stevens Kane

Kelli Stevens Kane is a poet, playwright, and oral historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. She's a Cave Canem Fellow, an August Wilson Center Fellow, and a Flight School Fellow, and has twice received Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grants from The Pittsburgh Foundation. She's studied at VONA, Hurston/Wright, and Callaloo. She reads her poetry and oral history, and performs her one woman show, BIG GEORGE, nationally. For more information, please visit her website and her blog.

Other poems by this author