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Wednesday, June 10, 2020


by Jenny Doughty

The last time I cried was when I heard my daughter try and explain events on the TV to her three year old. There were protest marches, she started to say but Katie interrupted, What’s a protest march? My daughter hesitated. Katie flourished a cup picturing a pink flamingo. She’d liberated it from her baby sister earlier. Was it over a flamingo cup? The strain hit me of a week spent watching a black man die under a white cop’s knee, hearing I can’t breathe, seeing blood flow from baton blows, people gasp and choke from tear gas or bruised by rubber bullets. Baby girl, yes, it was all about a flamingo cup. It was about some people wanting all the flamingo cups and others having to use their cupped hands. It was about some people whose flamingo cups overflowed with the juiciest juice while others drank lead-tainted water from faucets. It was about cops stopping black people who had flamingo cups because they might have stolen them from white people. It was about people with the biggest and best flamingo cups taking them from others who were left, like your baby sister, crying on the floor. Sometimes it was about stopping somebody else from taking your flamingo cup when they already had their own but wanted more. It was about caring about that flamingo cup so much that you no longer cared about the person holding it, even if that person was left with only cupped hands to drink from or crying on the floor or crushed under a knee, not breathing.

Jenny Doughty is a former English teacher and Education Adviser to Penguin UK.  Originally British, she has lived in Maine since 2002. Her poems have appeared in The Aurorean, Pulse online review, Naugatuck River Review, Four Way Review, and several anthologies. She is currently President of the Maine Poets Society. Her first book of poems Sending Bette Davis to the Plumber was published by Moon Pie Press in 2017.