Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Louella Robinson, Margaret Robinson, Dorothy Shaw, Barbara Jean, Michael Russell, Weda, Jocques, Tonya McFarland, Thomas McFarland, Tiny Chill, Bam, Ricky Shaw, John Shaw, Pinina, Dennis Barefield, Sissy, Pee Wee are some of the leaves that fell from our family tree.

Without them, where would I be?

Without them, there would be no me.

Some of them are the roots to this tree,

The source and force,

The fire inside of them burn hot like third degree burns, that turn lives upside down, bring homes low to the ground, some of them are founders,

On my way this Memorial Day to Inglewood Cemetery where some of these leaves are buried.

These are not the kind of leaves that leave at the slightest push of wind.

In the city of McFarland, this tree is planted in a large field full of chili peppers, peas and Shaws, surrounded by weeds and flying Robins

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Kenneth Moore is an African-American writer and poet. He is the author of the book “Subconscious Poetry” (available at and has had one of his poems published in the book “Silent Screams: Poems from Uncharted Territory” by Dr. Unique Shaw-Smith. He is incarcerated in California.