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Monday, February 10, 2014


by Kristina England

On March 7, 1965, a march by civil rights demonstrators was broken up in Selma, Ala., by state troopers and a sheriff's posse.

When Martin Luther King marched,
he had equality in mind.
No line drawn down the middle
on who could cross;
just people walking together
for freedom, for rights.

Women took the same stride
with voting, abortion,
the ability to work
alongside a suited man.

The government, now in foot
with same-sex marriage,
plans to offer survivor benefits
should a partner pass away.

As an assistant professor,
I met a young man who lost
one mother to cancer,
then watched his second mom
lose her bank account in court,
her love deemed illegal, non-existent.

So many people have given their lives
for the truth of their skin
whether color, religion, persuasion.
And, though, a child will apologize
for the silliest of things,
we'll skirt around the word sorry
with laws, holidays, and parades

while the ghosts of our past linger,
waiting to play judge
to the child, woman, man
marching down the street,
exposed, vulnerable,
ready to fall victim
time and time again
to our heavy, unwarranted hands.

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry is published or forthcoming at Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Story Shack, The Quotable, and other magazines. Her first collection of short stories will be published in the 2014 Poet's Haven Author Series.