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Friday, June 05, 2020


by Diane Vogel Ferri

Every time an unarmed black man
falls to our videoed fears and white failures

I see Tamir’s face, so many times, too many times,
the face that I saw in my classroom one year.

Yes he was tall, yes he liked attention,
neither are reasons to be given two seconds

to respond to an adult, neither are reasons
to be on a list of martyrs to America’s shame,

neither are reasons for his twelve year-old
face to be frozen in time on tv, the news,

on the never-ending list of lost black men,
not a reason to be famous or dead.

Author’s Note: Tamir Rice was my student in 2012.

Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet, and writer living in Solon, Ohio. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Stories, Cleveland Christmas Memories, and Good Works Review among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals such as Plainsongs, Rubbertop Review, and Poet Lore. Her previous publications include Liquid Rubies (poetry), The Volume of Our Incongruity (poetry), and The Desire Path (novel). A former special education teacher, she holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University and is a founding member of Literary Cleveland.