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Wishful Thinking by Rose Knudsen

To the dock of the Black River by Alicia Vinson

Today, I run

The black essence that connects my feet

To that painted on the concrete

Diligently admiring these stains

Of blue vandalized soul

Kids restricted by the streetlight

Whose mamas only trust them with the other brown folk

Rusted plaque regulations in white

Our neighborhood speaks love

Yet the city speaks

Wildfire and bruises

Anyone who’s smart would awaken

For safety is our killer

Anyone whose timeline is smeared in white-out

Would lead prayer

We ask, what will this city be painted in?

The murals of our youth,

Or the tears blooming the flowers of our ancestors?

We know the answer

As the backbone of this city, we must go

The tears

Make up this ocean

Holding the planks up with such prosper

Which I run towards,

For the sanctuary of my grandma’s cradling

For the flowers that rub my veins in hymn

While I wait my turn

On this dock; this grave

My friend

I get your fear, I do

For our dock is not painted a chalk gold glaze

It is raw wooden brown

The water leaking our blood at their palms

Sister and brother

I believe we will continue this revolution

For our roots will elongate to and from the fractured heart

To the children so criminal

For the black boys

Limited in toys

And girls whose hair not cherished in the eyes of the sea

But masked in the bitter plucks of bleach and chlorine

From hands to dock we clamp

Dock to droplets we kiss

Not a taste of the discolored boat on our lips

The time on our watch reads2000

And I understand the strong fingers that

Pull me towards your revolt

Eyes blank with fear

“Will we simply float past time

In the tombs of our blood?

To be passed down from generation

To generation we

Will carry us, only us?”

Crooked smile in confidence

My feet dive into our waters

A bridge of your love

To the promised land

Until our sea is so black

Floods the city of our rhythm

That they can’t run, that they can’t wait

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