By Maketa Smith-Groves
My mind has a landscape that could not form
anywhere except America.
This is the Diaspora
the vastness in my soul
like an African desert
This Detroit memory of
twelve gauge blasting
away wall/and blood splattered rats
my father’s rage that he could not prevent
this horror/this poverty/cleaving
Mississippi mud and
Shooting rats late at night
rats the size of footballs
scampering over sleeping bodies of
siblings and I
this profound rage and
desecration by the rats
(for sleeping children are sacred ground)
filled me with my father’s rage
I have raged ever since.
Maketa Smith-Groves is a native of Detroit, Michigan, lived in California for many decades and currently divides her time between the U.S. and Europe. This poem is excerpted from her new collection of poems, Class Encounters, published by Freedom Voices (freedomvoices.org).