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Boxes of Blood

We are color-blinded by race,

a society of half truths

where people skim by


to the divides,

categorizing them in groups

averaged out on paper.

We follow the order

as the instructions say

and check the box

that applies to us.

There are boxes for color

and labels of culture

but no American box

for the multi-racial.

No box for my blood,

a mix of races and cultures.

No box for my heart’s first choice

but still check a box,

the label you were marked by

at birth.

I check white but sometimes do not.

Poem: RIVER MARIA URKE has the heart of a poet and the eyes of an artist. She lives in Stillwater with her teenage daughter, Willow. River’s poetic writings and artistic touches reflect her Ojibwe and Celtic heritages along with her ponderings of being a forty-something American mother. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and a nonfiction work. She has been published a handful of times in online publications and is a contributor to two anthologies. River won the 2013 Made Here poetry contest in Minneapolis and is currently working on her first full-length poetry book, Spirit Songs. River is a member of the Mulberry Street Poets in Stillwater and the former TGIFrybread poetry group in Minneapolis.


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