Run before the sun comes up, before the humidity will drag your lungs to the pavement and fill you like a watering can. Once you catch your breath, head to the backyard garden and touch each plant, inspect for new life, admire the way the vines find new directions for growth. Keep them from crowding and smothering each other. Sling the satchel across your back. Pick blueberries, dropping them into the bag producing a simple staccato percussion. Rather than taking one at a time, let your fingers curl around the bunches and pull. Forgive yourself for the ripe ones you let slip to the earth. The birds and the squirrels will clean up your messes and you have enough harvest to fill a freezer. When you sit down to sip your coffee, read the news. Put a bowl of fresh berries next to your left hand. Every time you read of a new death put a new berry into your mouth. Notice how full you become. Notice how life can get pulped between your own white teeth. And even though you haven’t eaten red meat in 11 years that doesn’t mean you didn’t inherit incisors. Leave the juice dripping from your lips. When you put on your mask and go to the protest, remember the stains you’ve made that others can’t see. Remember that pulling out your own teeth won’t undo the damage of the past.
Kimberly Casey is a Massachusetts native who received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has since moved to Huntsville, Alabama where she founded Out Loud HSV – a spoken word poetry and literary arts nonprofit dedicated to inspiring community outreach and activism through spoken word. Her work has appeared in The Southern Women’s Review, Tilde Literary Journal, and The Corvus Review, among others. Kimberly is currently pursuing an MFA at Pacific University.