A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
You were on the wild side, she says after half
a century and, Remind me, what’s your name, again?
but I’m stuck on wild
and just a split second
maybe shorter, like Flash Gordon’s instant
molecular green, I think how could she forget
my name—I was the only, back then Negro, girl
in a class of four hundred waves splashing,
tossing me about in the crash
of white against my brown.
When I say my name, Margie says, That’s right, as if
she is one of those high school teachers quizzing,
checking my understanding — assuring everywhere
in this world
I learn my untamed place
Copyright 2016 Sheila Carter-Jones. First published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Sheila Carter-Jones has taught English in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, at Chatham University and at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies. Her honors include the 2011 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Book Award for Three Birds Deep.