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