Friday 5 May 2023

2 Poems by Jan Castro

Holding Down the Sky

after art by Robert Kobayashi
Small nails pin
ceiling tin slivers
into memory’s frame:
grassy fields rise
to greet
scattered clouds,
a train glides over the horizon.

A child’s eye
is holding down the sky.

Erase Race —for Jes Fan (see

“The function, the very serious function of racism…is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language, and you spend twenty years proving that you do…There will always be one more thing.” – Toni Morrison, from “A Humanist View,” 1975 speech, Portland State University

Racism creates factions despite
evidence in biology that
race is not a category.
Your skin, mine, and everyone’s
has melanin, a pigment.
More melanin or less results in
dark to light hues (hair & eyes, too).
Even Albino is a color.
All humans are born into a range
of cultures, most mixed with
differentials in shades even from
face to sole. Skin color doesn’t
designate character or race—

it just shows.


Jan Castro (See was last seen biking in Brooklyn. Her ekphrastic tendencies stem from publications in many genres. Books include The Art & Life of Georgia O’Keeffe, The Last Frontier (letterpress poetry folio), & Margaret Atwood: Vision and Forms. Poetry has surfaced in New Letters, Exquisite Corpse, Roof, Telephone, Chronogram, and more. She was a finalist for the Black Lawrence Fulton Fiction Award and won Flash Fiction of the Month from great weather for MEDIA. Awards include the CCLM (now CLMP) Editor’s Award for River Styx Magazine, YWCA Arts Leadership Award, St. Louis, and fellowships from the NEH and Camargo Foundation. She is contributing editor for Sculpture Magazine and wrote the Afterword for the 2022 Suntup edition of The Handmaid’s Tale. (shorten this if/as you like)

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