Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Sarah Browning: Petworth, Early Evening

A man is stabbing women in my neighborhood.

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

sarah-b1-e1368637940137

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