Poem: “Black History Month”


I’ve heard

Jim Crow is still dancing

to amuse the Whites.


He’s the woman in Thailand,

hands in ice water

16 hours a day,

peeling shrimp.


At Walmart,

$10 a platter.


He’s the man in Bangladesh,

working the textile machine

with a thousand others

in an ill-constructed facility

built for half that many.


The midnight-blue polo shirt by Joe Fresh is a steal;

$16 at Loblaws.


He’s the child in the underground tunnels

of Congo’s mining industry

– no protective gear –

carrying rocks and washing the cobalt ores

for less than $2 a day

to power lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, laptops, and



I look at my old BlackBerry.

A touch-screen would be nice, and

iPhone 8 is coming this fall.


Black History Month is over.

Back to work.


(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)

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