Social Justice Poetry

Cate Gable

On an Accumulation of Small Observations | A Social Justice Poem by Cate Gable

For Neil

Culture, the water we swim in, and some version
of the future aggregated by clues—that brand name
on a shirt, straight white teeth, an iPhone versus flip—
keeps us in place, as the children lining up for school
in Kanazawa knew just where they stood,
who was above/below. Ijeoma Uluo, whose name
is melody, spoke about race as we wriggled in our seats.
Of course we want to do what’s right, what’s fair
yet our privilege separates. Being white
how do we feel each slight, each wound to Blacks
more murderous than the last? We’re wrong, we’re
rich, we’re deaf to deafness, blind to blindness,
trapped. Let the oceans inundate, let flies
suck at our lips, and I will know to take
your hand, fall down beside you in prayer.