Barking

Go away!
Your memory nags
my brain
like a stray dog
begging for crumbs
from my recollection.
Songs we shared
are like scraps
that do little
to satiate
a starving
appetite.
The images are
emaciated shadows
now
jumping toward me
and away.
Stop asking for more.
I have nothing for you.


Invisible Caretakers

Black women serve
as caretakers
of land
of home
of children
Black women walk the streets
of New York City
behind strollers
of freshly wiped
white babies.
Black women keep
these children smiling
as they bundle them in
snow suits
and settle
them warm like glowing
cherubs in
their little sedans
while black women themselves
trudge through snow
cold and numb
Black women have done this
for centuries
lifting white
child after
white child
upon on our shoulders
until that white child
grows into a white
man who decides
the fate of our
lives
We do all of this
while our own
sons sit in
prisons
bruised
and abused
We do this even though
we saw
Trayvon Martin die and thought
“That could have been my son.”
We do this even when
we saw Freddie Gray die
and thought
“That could have been my son.”
We do this even
when we saw
Tamir Rice, 12-years
old shot dead
and thought
“That could have been my
son.”
We will get up
every day
and
start over
We will push
push strollers
Push children
lift up children
of all nationalities
until they become
strong men and women
Black women push this country
forward
And we do it
all for 40% less an hour
We clean up
we shore up
and we lift up
with little to
no credit
And lastly
we vote
Because we believe
that one day
We will wake up to
a world that finds us to be more
than invisible caretakers

 

Katerina Canyon grew up in Los Angeles, and has two children. From 2000 to 2003, she served as the Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. During that time, she started a poetry festival and ran several poetry readings in the area. She has published two chapbooks and an album. Later this year, she will release the book, Changing Lines, a joint project with her daughter, which features a collection of her latest works.