brown bare tree

Poetry No. 74 – henry 7. reneau, jr.

The Last Word

by henry 7. reneau, jr.

Scrub & haul & fetch & tote. Black folks do [Historically] 
what white folks won’t.  

Racism is insidious even in moments of the mundane. 
It wields coercion & takes on different meanings, depending 

on where we stand within the margins. Is the inevitability 
of our mental entrapment, arisen from the psychic churn 

of epigenetics, the changes in gene expression 
that can be brought on by the violence of inherited trauma, 

can be terrifying to confront, but if ignored, 
one runs the risk of becoming entangled in the past, 

generationally guillotined by Katrina’s detonation. 
In how many moments have we suspended our instincts 

to insist that They mean no harm (even when They harm)?  
Is a suspension of disbelief. Is an ongoing act 

of pushing past disappointment 
to get to laughter, empathy, the spiritual worth of our souls. 

Scrub & haul & fetch & tote. Our invisible labor 
made visible. Amerikkka is the result of that labor. Is the last word.     

henry 7. reneau, jr. is the author of the poetry collection, freedomland blues (Transcendent Zero Press) and the e-chapbook, physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press.) His work is published in Superstition Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Zone 3; Poets Reading the News, and Rigorous. His work has also been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Photo by Kat Smith on

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