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Monday, February 17, 2014


by Kristina England



In Florida, a man is found guilty of attempted murder,
though the boy he shot did not survive.

The argument:
first degree means premeditation,
not acting on fear.

But isn't racism some form of preparation,
some form of an excuse?


My grandmother once forbid my sister
from marrying a Puerto Rican,
because all their men "are cheats."

My sister married him anyway.

And (eventually) my grandmother
admitted to her own wrong doing,
but not until after there were
too many ghosts to bury.


The man says the boy had a gun.
The boy MUST have had a gun.
But the only weapon that day
was a mind bent by societal beliefs.

And yet, the magnitude of murder
is weighed on the loudness of music,
the amount of time it took to reach for a gun,
the minutes till the man fired
all those assumptions
at a boy in the wrong parking lot
at just the wrong time.


And what of the man?

He earns no name in this poem.
He belongs where the boy has mistakenly gone:
in a grave that needs no remembrance,
but rather loses its meaning over time.

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.