hundreds of daffodils shake out of the soil, pried gently from hardened clay. they tumble heavily onto butcher paper, gently wrapped and left on the porch to dry. boxwood roots stretch into the spaces they leave behind.

i clear some plants, which i deem weeds, to make room for other plants, which are also weeds. balloon flowers can stay because i think they are cute. fireweed can stay because it has been here for longer than i have. bindweed must always go.

from hours of staring at plant identification charts, some words embed themselves into my consciousness, even as i don't think of myself as a dedicated botanist. when i see a wide-spreading flower with a central ball and thin petals, my mind whispers asteraceae, the flower like a star. slowly, in my head, i build a dichotomous key from scratch. and this is how is goes.

15 August 2020 22:05

To Mayor Bill Peduto (2)

original note left via mayoral feedback form 4 June 2020

Dear Mayor Peduto, I have been a Pittsburgh resident since moving here for college in 2005. I love this city and all the vibrancy and beauty of it. I'm disappointed in the use of excessive police force against protestors in East Liberty this past Monday, and disappointed in your rhetoric that supports this use of force. I have generally trusted you to do things right, but that trust started breaking when you claimed that there was no tear gas deployed during your statement Monday night, contrary to the experiences of my friends who were present at the protest as well as the reports from your own police. I expect better of you.

I see your statement about training and policy implementations for "8 Can't Wait", and yet I still hope for a redirection of funds used to equip police with the means for deadly and excessive force, and putting those funds towards resources that would better support community safety and well-being. I do not want to live in a city where "peace" is kept by a militarized police force; I want to live in a city where all community members are valued and their needs for health and dignity are met. I am not interested in building trust between my community and the police, no matter how many bias and de-escalation trainings the police are required to attend. Undoing these systems of damage means someone needs to take the radical step of putting down their weapons. The police are not responding to violence, they are instigating violence, and we may not achieve peace until they stand down.

04 June 2020 13:08

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