George Floyd, We Hear Your Cry

Caroline Giles Banks

Every mother
who has carried and birthed,
nursed and weaned,
fed and cared for
a son
like you, George,
hears your cry for mother,
for us.

We toss and turn,
tread to the night window,
watch, hope, pray
for just one pair of headlights, no
flashers, no sirens,
to idle up to the curb,
for the car door to slam
its solo note of, I’m home, Ma,
to hear later, dude,
the boys in the hood’s
anthem of brotherhood.
We long for the floor boards’ squeak,
mothers’ lullaby for rest
from too many choruses
of The Talk, exhaled out
into the void.

How do we write his story
when hero kings are shrunk
to a postage stamp, a month,
a day, a parade, a back page clip,
a paragraph, a tweet, a sign?

How do we fight for his story
when every mother knows
our sons’ dark bodies can be
stopped, searched, slapped,
stripped, strung, stabbed,
suspended, sentenced, scared,
scarred, shot, snuffed?

How do we make right his story,
respond to his last cry
from under the boot
for mother,
for us? George, son,
hear our hymn.

O Mary Don’t You Weep
Don’t You Mourn
God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign
Said “No More Water, But the Fire Next Time”
Pharaoh’s Army Got Drowned
O Mary Don’t You Weep
Don’t You Mourn


About Caroline Giles Banks
Written in several genres, my poetry is informed by my training and profession as a cultural anthropologist. The poems voice compassion for populations who experience marginalization, displacement and discrimination. One of my six publications, “The Weight of Whiteness; A Memoir in Poetry,” illuminates my struggle for identity and dignity in a world lived between—and beyond black and white.


George Floyd, We Hear Your Cry Copyright © 2021 by Caroline Giles Banks. All Rights Reserved.

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