Liza Wolff-Francis

Margie Richard stood before the United Nations with a bag of air

Polluted air, testament to truth,
that no one wanted to breathe.
A good reaction to detail, all

the way from Norco, Louisiana,
NORCO, an acronym town,
New Orleans Refining Company.

Bleach smell, an explosion
of people, diorama of bacterial
disease, chemical exposure

to kill her sister, sharp blast
at Shell’s Oil Refinery to kill more,
shake the state.

Someday, the world will be able to see
people of color
without industrial pollution.

This truth, environmental justice.
Margie Richard walked up to Shell
with a list of demands, unwilling

any constellation of their loss,
unwilling to hear no, insisted
they relocate residents, demanded

a five-million-dollar community
fund, and a thirty percent toxic
emissions reduction.

Fearless African American woman,
bravery mapped and ready,
brought a bag of air and won.


Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. Her writing has most recently appeared in Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Rock the Chair, Poetry Pacific, Edge, Border Senses, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves dark chocolate and lives in Albuquerque, NM.


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