Vox Populi

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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!



  2. jenneandrews
    April 15, 2015

    Sarah– brilliant and beautiful. Thank you….j


  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.


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

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