Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Sarah Browning: This Is the Poem

.

I am on the Parkway with Fred, driving home

from Baltimore to DC. We’ve been to a packed

.

and riotous tribute to Ms. Lucille Clifton

at the public library. How we start talking

.

about history and my slave-owning forbears

and poetry I don’t remember, but that’s how it is

.

with Fred – we talk about these things.

I tell Fred I’ve been trying and failing

.

to find my way into the head

of my great grandmother or anyone else

.

who owned other people, trying to imagine.

Fred says, Well, maybe that’s not the poem.

.

Maybe this is the poem – you and I,

a Black man and a white woman,

.

crossing state lines below the Mason-Dixon Line.

The traffic stalls for late-night repairs

.

and we stop, between these two cities.

We are friends in a car.

.

And how could the Black men mutilated

and beaten and thrown in rivers

.

for just this – talking with a white woman,

crossing state lines, riding in a car –

.

not come and congregate with Fred and me

as we sit quietly a moment?

.

Construction lights flash in our eyes.

I wonder about the white women –

.

where are they in this story?

How could they bear

.

what had been done in their names?

Was there ever one who said no?

___

copyright 2015 Sarah Browning

Sarah Browning by Rick Reinhard

3 comments on “Sarah Browning: This Is the Poem

  1. Barry Hellman
    April 20, 2015

    Hope she will read this poem when she features for the Cape Cod Poetry Group on May 5, 2014, 7-8:30 pm at the Wellfleet Library!

    https://www.facebook.com/events/689790954479856/

    Like

  2. jenneandrews
    April 15, 2015

    Sarah– brilliant and beautiful. Thank you….j

    Like

  3. Simone Roberts
    April 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on PostModernity's Red-headed Stepchild and commented:
    Cadre, my friend, Sarah Browning’s poetry will run in series at Vox Populi for some weeks. Drop by, read. She’s all the good.

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 14, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , , .
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