Marching into April

IMG_0150Spring comes, and leaves,
returns … disappears.
Rain snow sun sleet all before noon
and then comes the bitter wind.
April is the cruellest month.

In Memphis, a strike and hope for change,
and then a prophet’s voice silenced
hope buried in a cold grave.
April is the cruellest month

Except for
March in San Salvador, La Esperanza,
June in a Los Angeles hotel,
July on a New York street,
or in a Texas jail,
August in Ferguson,
November in Dallas,
San Salvador, Minneapolis,
December in Baltimore.
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Say his name
Say her name
Oscar, Berta, Martin, Bobby,
Eric, Sandra, Jack,
Ignacio, Segundo, Ignacio,
Juan Ramón, Joaquín, Amando,
Elba, Celina, Jamar, Freddie.
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Months march on,
grief deadens hope.
Pero Berta no murió, se multiplicó.
The litany of names lengthens,
shouted into the streets,
carried on thousands of marching feet,
Say his name
Say her name
Hand in hand with my family we will fill these streets.

April sun warms crocuses in snow,
coaxes tulips from the ground,
softens trees’ winter-stark silhouettes
frilling buds along the branches.
Breeding lilacs out of the dead land,

April greens beneath the snow,
daring hope beyond despair.
An angel passes over and
the sea parts for slaves and
a stone is rolled away from the tomb.
Mixing memory and desire.

What promise of joy,
what pain, what grief,
what kind of world,
what life awaits my April child?
I would have kept her safe, inside,
but I could not, cannot,
for life, too, marches on.
Stirring dull roots with spring rain.

April is the cruelest month
and yet each year we dream of spring,
dare to believe and hope again.
Marching on till the people are free.

[Italicized lines quoted from The Waste Land
 by T.S. Eliot and from Hand in Hand by Jayanthi Kyle]

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