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Saturday, May 30, 2020


by Donna Katzin

In the streets of Minneapolis                                                            
fires, flashbangs rip night from slumber
as marchers breach barriers,
swell down 27th Avenue
to the Third Precinct.

From its roof, gas wrings tears
from eyes that thought
they’d cried themselves dry,
chokes lungs that burn for breath
in memory of George Floyd—
unarmed, pinned like a sacrificial lamb
by four white men in uniform                                            
for seven never-ending minutes            
while a knee to his neck slowly squeezed
the last air from lips pleading for his life,
gasping Eric Garner’s last words—
I can’t breathe.

While he worked, the cold killer stared into the camera      
of a seventeen-year old brown-skinned girl
who may never graduate from nightmares.

For black mothers, fathers, sons, daughters
terror hangs like a hungry noose.                                                                  
Never takes a vacation.
Refuses to sleep.

It’s not that every officer is a murderer.
It’s just—you never know.

Donna Katzin is the founding executive director of Shared Interest, a fund that mobilizes the human and financial resources of low-income communities of color in South and Southern Africa. A board member of Community Change in the U.S., and co-coordinator of Tipitapa Partners working in Nicaragua, she has written extensively about South Africa, community development and impact investing. Published in journals and sites including TheNewVerse.News and The Mom Egg, she is the author of With the Hands, a book of poems and photographs about post-apartheid South Africa’s process of giving birth to itself.