Stolen from Africa, the slave traders’ gold
Densely packed in the airless hold
The dead fed sharks as they crossed the sea
And Kunta Kinte said, “I can’t breathe.”

Toiling in the sun, their dreadful lives
While nightly the Massa took their wives
How many years must a people grieve?
And Nat Turner said, “I can’t breathe.”

The white mob cheered when the noose was tight
The Negro cried and trembled in fright
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar tree
And Emmett Till said, “I can’t breathe.”

One cop asked, “Did he have a gun?”
Another cop said, “He shouldn’t have run.”
On the man’s neck he pressed a knee
And George Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.”

Ron Carter is a published short story writer and a neophyte living in Baltimore, MD.