A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Most poor people in my city are Black
and because of the warnings of 400 years
I assume the man stabbing women
is Black. Walking home, I pass
a young Black man on the sidewalk.
When I first spotted him I did not
cross the street, though I thought to.
As we pass he reaches into his pocket
and I feel fear, how white I am.
From his pocket he pulls
a phone. Calls his girlfriend or grandma
or buddy up the street, his job, his pastor,
his boyfriend, his AA sponsor. I don’t want
to be afraid of my neighbors, walking home
from the Metro in the clear light of evening.
I want to tear history from my throat.
My son is in his room texting his friends.
It is June in the 21st century.
copyright 2015 Sarah Browning