Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Birch Trees, White Folks


I've come to expect
white folks who used to
behave like "liberals"
to bend Right at the slightest
urging of confusion,
the tiniest testing
of their privilege.

Like white birch trees,
they grow crooked
and drip sap. The scars
on their white bark
are black. These

become hieroglyphs
that tell of interminable
injustice, of an unrelenting
white illness.


hans ostrom (after the Trayvon Martin verdict) 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Pigeon in Rome

A pigeon strutted
into a bar on the
Via Veneto. This was
not the first course

of a joke, although
when the pigeon spoke,
it said, "Yes, I know
my head goes forth
and back. I have feathers
not funds. Allow
me some crumbs."


Hans Ostrom 2013