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Monday, March 15, 2021


by Sandra Anfang

George Floyd as a boy with his mother Larcenia, known as Miss Cissy, who died on May 30, 2018

My son George is dead. We lie 
under the earth in a quiet Houston
cemetery where we grieve together. 
All of Minneapolis is grieving.
Twenty-seven months from now
we will still be grieving.
I heard him call out for me
as he struggled for eight minutes
under the knee of the white cop
My name is tattooed on his belly.
We are connected at the core.
In twenty-seven years we will still be grieving.
I used to love the number twenty-seven:
three times three times three.
The number of black men police kill
each year has not changed since I died.
Twelve hundred sixty-five of my babies have
been felled, and they are all my babies.
Here they said. Take this money in exchange
for George’s life, but that won’t bring him back.
I cannot balance this equation. 
Three point three: the number
of millions our family was paid
for every minute that white cop 
pressed his hate into George’s neck.
Just forty-six, he was a dad and grandad.
The city has wiped the crime scene clean
but our pain is an indelible stain.
Money is a powerful mop. We will use it
to help the cause of black folks everywhere.
That white cop must be locked away
if that’s what it takes to end 
this circle of slaughter.

Sandra Anfang is an award-winning poet, poetry teacher, and editor. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including San Francisco Peace and Hope, Spillway, The New Verse News, and Rattle. Her two chapbooks Looking Glass Heart and Road Worrier were published by Finishing Line Press in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Xylem Highway, a full-length collection, was published by Main Street Rag in 2019. Sandra teaches with California Poets in the Schools and hosts Rivertown Poets, a monthly reading series, in Petaluma, California. This poem was born of the twenty-seven-million-dollar settlement for George’s life by the city of Minneapolis this week.