Marcella uses the hand shears rather than a power weed-eater
so the white pickets won’t stain green.
At dawn she is up watering the roses, red and white ones
in front of pink shutters.
Now, the sun rises in the late July sky
to wick the water from the soil,
drawing it up with an invisible straw.
You can only be so meticulous, then, once in a while you have to act and pull a weed, even if it uproots something nearby.
Her muscles tense, she bends, digs, tugs. She is strong today. The roots come clean.
She looks at the sun. “Scorcher,” she mutters, and drags out the hose for another round.
Marcella gets on the bus and goes downtown
and stands and links arms with her neighbors:
African-Americans or girls dressed in rainbows.
She passes out bottles of water, reminds them to hydrate,
there is a chance of bloodshed so she is ready with a medical kit
in a fanny-pack, to keep the blood from staining
the streets. And even
when the sun goes down she stands erect, waves her carefully-lettered picket sign,
feels the burn on her shoulders, revels in the blisters on her heels
waits to go limp in the arms of an officer and (hopefully) a gentleman,
who will take her down to the station and book her. Meanwhile,
Marcella worries only about
the roses at home, red and white and
the people on the street, black, and blue, and LGBTQ.
She is strong today, but– did they get to the root?
Have they gotten enough water? Are they thirsty still for justice?