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Welcome to Words without Border’s tenth annual Queer issue.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Playing Dead for the Summer; A Girl Child's Tale

   Each morning for the school year, students in my third grade class would gather on a carpet at the back of the classroom and we would engage in a community meeting where we discussed and shared a variety of topics.  On June 18th, the next morning after the Charleston massacre and the day before the ending of school, my students shared their summer plans. One of the liveliest, most engaged and extroverted students shared in a very muted and dazed tone that she was hiding for the summer- playing dead were her words-because now people were trying to kill girls.  She was genuinely terrorized by the events in Charleston.  I wrote this poem to document, in a small way, how events such as those that occurred in Charleston impact young African-American children, particularly those who already are living under precarious, impoverished and marginalized conditions. 
Discover the paintings of Margaret Bowland at

   My poem, Playing Dead for the Summer, is now featured on the For Harriet website.  Here is the link: