“Inherent Injustice: a tribute to Trayvon Martin
(February 5, 1995-February 26, 2012)”
originally appeared in Sixfold.
The injustice inherent in the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was not authored by a jury given a weak case. The jury’s performance may be the least disturbing aspect of this entire affair. The injustice was authored by a country which has taken as its policy, for the lion’s share of its history, to erect a pariah class. The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.
—Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Trayvon Martin and the Irony of American Justice,” the Atlantic; July 15, 2013.
With a plastic syringe,
I dispense three beads
of water to the hushed
beak. He is dying—
quiet and ethereal
in my hand. Meager efforts
evolve too late and fail to
assuage the institutionalized
condition from which it
suffers. A murder of crows
shriek in violation and barrage
the airways with outrage.
Apathy settles on alabaster
masses. Eyes reflect the distortions
of a whitewashed mind.
But I can’t erase a youthful
flight. Innocence unaware, the predator’s
The embodiment of ignorance
breeds a “perceived threat.”
A coward’s bullet explodes
your heart. I am left to consider
amidst the velvety feathers.
Kimberly Russo is an English teacher in Aurora, Colorado where she resides with her husband, Tony. She is the mother of four children, Nicholas, Audrey, Grace, and Maritza and a proud grandmother to Doc Wilder Russo. Kimberly spends her free time gardening and bird-watching. Much of her writing is dedicated to marriage/family, social issues, including the perpetuating inequality among genders/race, and the stigma associated with mental illness. Her poetry has appeared in River Poets Journal, Open Minds Quarterly, PDXX Collective, Sixfold, and Cricket Media: Spider Magazine.