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  • Writer's pictureMernine Tevna Ameris

claudette colvin plants a garden

girlchild takes a seat on the bus

next to pregnant woman and wonders

about the beast in the belly next to her

as it sits round on her hips.

white women enter yet no one rises,

not even when met with steel gaze

in rearview mirror, reflecting revolution.

wheels turning into traffic stop.

pothole meets police car as she remains rooted.


officer guesses her bra size in the holding cell,

makes her hold her own stomach

panicking if he somehow knew before her own body

began to wonder what her mother might think.


nine months later,

mother says to let rosa bloom.

rosa was the kind of woman men fight for

and girlchild was unwed with nappy hair and indigo skin.

stomach swollen, bloated belly

stolen by the baby

she began begging to bear sooner

before being forced to swallow any more sorrow

driven to raise her baby in a world full of change, better than she left it


the state of this union, this bond the size of a berry she imagines herself:

white house, picket fence, lawns like her father mows. if there’s space for

generations to grow gardens

why can only one flowers’ forget-me-not petals

press on the pages of the past,

only one’s seeds spread over history books

& only one’s fight be pollinated on the front lines?


a mountain moves to make way for a minister

and a martyr in montgomery

in 2021, they can’t even get her record expunged

that’s the agony of blazing the trail.



Edited by: Ava Emilione

Cover Photo Displays: Claudette Colvin

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