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Saturday, April 03, 2021


by Katherine West

America’s growing Black community is “not a monolithic population, but one that has people of many different demographic, social and economic characteristics and many different experiences in their backgrounds.” Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Race and Ethnicity Research at Pew Research Center, told The Root in an interview, March 30, 2021.

On the other side 
of the street 

walks a young
Black man 

going to work 

or perhaps 
like me 

getting a coffee 
while the clothes spin

his great great great

was a Buffalo Soldier 

his family 

settled here 
before New Mexico became a state 

Perhaps he's a painter
that paints his

how history 

surrounds him 
like a herd 

steaming and stamping 
in the morning cold 


or quietly 

at the turf 
The herd contains him

when he takes 

a careful 

but any sudden 

could cause a stampede 
leaving the painter crushed 

to nothing 
at one 

with his desert home 

with the dry grass 
the wind riffles 

like the tawny fur 
of the great cat 

he becomes 
when he paints 

at one

with the invisible wind 

free to walk the world 

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near Silver City. She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer.  Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Writing in a Woman's Voice, Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, The New Verse News, Tanka Journal, Splash!, Eucalypt, and Southwest Word FiestaThe New Verse News nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize in 2019. In addition she has had poetry appear as part of art exhibitions at the Light Art Space gallery in Silver City, New Mexico and at the Windsor Museum in Windsor, Colorado. Using the name Kit West, Katherine's new novel, When Night Comes, A Christmas Carol Revisited has just been released, and a selection of poetry entitled Raising the Sparks will come out in March of 2021, both published by Breaking Rules Publishing. She is presently at work on the sequel to When Night Comes. It is called Slave, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Revisited. She is also an artist.