(I am proud to have hosted work by my friend and colleague AJ Dent in the past, and am very excited to continue to feature her writing and photographs here on Popthomology as she continues her travels. Thank you, AJ. -- Marianne)

From June through September of this year, I am staying in my homeland of north central Minnesota. While I’ve been writing a bit about my current adventures over on AtelierAJ.org and DigitalAJ, the recent racism-fueled murders of black people across the country has taken precedence. Since the death of Philando Castile, Minnesota has experienced significant storms almost every single day, alongside protests all across the state. This poem, which touches on the tragedy of his death, is dedicated to him, all others wrongfully killed by police, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Minnesota Mourns

cattails are bowing.
nothing to do with the wind.
they half-mast like flags.

the North Star State keens  
hot heartbroken thunderstorms.
seven in one week.

all black lives matter.
each dawn the loons pronounce it.
stars Morse it at night.

red green and yellow
splay wide across the state map.
blood on a white shirt.

Philando Castile.
cafeteria treasure.
safe driver, boyfriend.

but had he not been?  
still no reason for his death.
whoever he was

should still be alive.
fuck all eyes dashing to find
blame in black culture.  

all black lives matter.
black lives matter no matter
others’ approval.

tornados etch earth --
fat knuckles drug through corn fields.
cops hide in their homes.

chemicals sour.
floods flash like white protest signs.
Mother Nature shrieks.

Diamond Reynolds speaks.
the Land of Lakes, listening
beats her chest with rain.

they deserve better.
we must call - vote - talk - art - march.
all black lives matter.

-- aj dent, 2016