For Gregory Hill | Carla Cherry

Image by Clay Banks

January 14, 2014
Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Gregory Hill was at home
blasting Drake’s All Me in his garage.
A mother walked by on her way to pick up her child
from Frances K. Sweet Elementary that was across the street.
Offended by f-bombs and N-words,
she called the police,
who knocked on the front door and the garage.

They said he had a gun.
The garage door closed.
One deputy shot at Gregory 4 times in 1.2 seconds
through the garage door–
and he was hit twice in the stomach
once in the head,
one bullet stuck in the door.
Deputies called the SWAT team and the snipers
kicked in doors,
cut holes through the garage door.
shot tear gas canisters through windows.
So much damage no one can live there anymore.

Little Destiny said
her father’s hands were empty.
There was no blood spatter on the unloaded gun
in his back pocket.
The jurors:
one black man, two white men and five white women,
decided Gregory was 99% at fault.
They awarded Gregory’s family $4:
$1 for the $11,000 in funeral expenses,
and $1 for each child’s
“loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
and … mental pain and suffering,”
Hill’s children were 7, 10 and 13.
And because they ruled him drunk,
they reduced the award to 4 cents, then nothing.
This is what they do now
instead of posting the heads of our rebels
on sticks.


Carla M. Cherry (she/her) is a native of the Bronx, NY and a veteran English teacher. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, including Anderbo, Eunoia Review, Dissident Voice, Random Sample Review, Firefly Magazine, Picaroon Poetry, Streetlight Press, MemoryHouse, Bop Dead City, Ariel Chart, Anti-Heroin Chic, and The Racket. She has published four books of poetry through Wasteland Press: Gnat Feathers and Butterfly Wings (2008), Thirty Dollars and a Bowl of Soup (2017), Honeysuckle Me (2017), and These Pearls Are Real (2018). Her fifth and latest book, Stardust and Skin (2020), was published by iiPublishing. She is an M.F.A. candidate in Creative Writing at the City College of New York.

____
Raising Mothers is a free online literary magazine for BIWOC and non-binary parents of color. As little as $1 a month goes a long way towards supporting our editorial staff and contributors while keeping us ad-free. Become a patron today!

Become a patron