Poem by Susan Deer Cloud


Black Girl with No Name

A night I just wanted to watch an old movie –
cozy in bed while outside the full moon
made it appear as though snow sparkled over
Earth rather than pre-Halloween ghost-light.
Channel surfing, I paused on CNN video
of huge Caucasian cop slamming a black
girl out of classroom chair, flipping her
upside down, desk banging to floor along
with soft body, dragging splayed arms
and legs to the door. When a second
black girl began crying in protest,
the “resource officer” yelled “Sit down
or you’ll be next.” Stunned, other students
made secret videos in the “shock and awe”
of that South Carolina school. What would I
have done about that goon with a gun?

Speaking of doing, what did the black girl
with no name do? Briefly text someone?
The videos showed no fighting back,
only a mute ragdoll tossed about. It was like
that day my ex yanked my hair and body
to kitchen floor, neck snapped into whiplash.
Will the high spirited schoolgirl descend
into years of pain, a nervous breakdown,
flashbacks forever more? In trauma
so deep she nearly forgets she has a name
or tears to shed? Last night I thought
about the little Cherokee-Black girl
who lives in the house across the street –
girl magical, courteous, sweet,
who makes me smile whenever she speaks
of dance lessons, puppies and stars.

October 27, Halloween and ghosts
glimmering near, daylight growing
less, skies more bruised. When
the little girl sashays up to our porch
in that way she does and lilts
“trick-or-treat,” I have a black cat
bag to give to her, a cornucopia
of candies and rainbow ice pops,
a wand with a glow-in-the-dark star,
a stuffed puppy with immense eyes –
my way to say May no bully ever
grab you by the hair. May no fascist
ever drag you into forever fear.
I pray Grandmother Moon kisses the faces
of Sheriya across our street, the nameless
black girl, and the one who cried.


Photography © Susan Deer Cloud.
Photography © Susan Deer Cloud.




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