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Monday, March 29, 2021


by Sandra Sidman Larson

A fist sculpture is situated at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, also known as George Floyd Square, on March 25 in Minneapolis. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)

As a spring storm begins to rumble outside, I wrap
my dog in his thunder shirt, yet I must remain calm
and unprotected from what bears down
on us, whether it is thunder, city coyotes howling,
the probable headlines of the Star Tribune—the paper flung
outside my door this morning, as every day, by a poor man,
his young children waiting in his idling car.
The fate of George Floyd’s murderer is soon to be
determined by twelve citizens in a courtroom barricaded
with barbed wire as have been the halls of Congress,
precautions against returning mobs, recently sicced
on the representatives of our frail democracy
by a crazed president who we supposedly ushered out
the door. But what to do about the cop who puts his knee
for nine minutes upon the neck of a Black man,
smothers him to death, stopping all our lives, turning us
to marching in the streets, while troublemakers—homegrown,
or blown into Minneapolis—set the city streets and stores afire,
inciting chaos among thousands of protesters, many of us
now realizing we need other gods or old gods to appear,
to stop us from killing each other, we who are filled with love,
hate, hope, and despair, stirred up by the fates—
so little to protect us?  All I can do is close the window
against the thunder, the smells of rain-damped debris;
note the snow almost gone from the ground, now newly bare.

Sandra Sidman Larson, twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, has three chapbooks to her credit: Whistling Girls and Cackling Hens, Over a Threshold of Roots (both Pudding House Press Publications), and Weekend Weather: Calendar Poems. Her chapbook Ode to Beautiful was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016 and her first full manuscript by Main Street Rag Publications in 2017. Her poetry has been published in many venues such as the Atlanta Review, Grey Sparrow, Earth’s Daughters and on-line in The New Verse News and others. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, one being what have you lost? edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.  (Who nominated her for one Pushcart Prize). With a Masters Degree in social work and community planning, Sandra’s primary career was in social service and social justice work. Her poetry career began at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. As a poet with grandchildren and great nieces and nephews she longs for a world where all children are cherished and cared for and justice reigns for all.