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Saturday, August 08, 2020


by Gwendolyn Morgan


aquatic flightless birds
they     like us              have adapted to their environment
adopted flippers for swimming in icy water
in Chile, Argentina, South Africa

We are a black and white same gendered multiracial family
intersectionality of lens          lock and intersect
race      ethnicity          gender              orientation
privilege          power              white and black witness feathers

Our neighbor a white man swerved at us         intentionally
a sandy brown vehicle like the burnt umber sand at the edge of Ushuaia
where you can take a boat to see three species of penguins
his Toyota 4Runner once and another black SUV again
revved at us     make the black woman            jump    again
and her partner            jump    to our neighbor’s green and brown grass
the couple moved here from another state
moved here a few years ago   now still shocked by the behavior
of well-educated mostly white privileged neighbors who in this time of COVID
pack guns, rev engines, use anti-kindness vernacular
we watch brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers die in the pandemic
while our neighbors watch microaggression after macroaggression
directed at my beloved            like guns, tear gas and a palette of vehicles
rainbow of colors, the neighborhood children walk here too

I could write for days
about what it means to live here         in black and white
how we have plush penguins and carved wooden penguins
on our fireplace hearth            
along with sage, sweetgrass, feathers,
ashes, vigil candles, gifts from our elders. 

Gwendolyn Morgan is a Pacific Northwest poet and artist who serves in interfaith Spiritual Care in a medical center in the midst of COVID19.  The Clark County Poet Laureate 2018-2020 in Washington State, her third book of poetry, Before the Sun Rises is a Nautilus Silver Winner in Poetry. Gwendolyn and her spouse Judy A. Rose focused on poetry and music during a Winter 2020 Centrum Artist Residency. As a multiracial family in a multispecies watershed, they are committed to equity work and inclusion for all.