killed by police at traffic stop
Philando Castile, cafeteria supervisor,
remembered which students
couldn’t have milk. I imagine
his kids lined up under the fluorescent
hum, pushing plastic trays across
the chrome lunch counter. Yes to
mashed potatoes. No to baked beans.
A little more corn, please. Last stop
before steering their trays to seats:
Phil handed each child a milk or juice
carton without asking, knowing their orders.
Now each child performs solo the quiet
act of reaching down into the chest
cooler, no one there to console them
with a smile or clap on the shoulder.
~ Melissa Fita Johnson
Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit melissafitejohnson.com.
Guest Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Maine Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, words (on pages), Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, and in 150 Kansas Poets. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. She is a founding member of the Astra Arts Festival in Independence, KS and was director of the visiting writers’ series at ICC. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.