Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sheila Carter-Jones: Running into a high school classmate years after

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.

One comment on “Sheila Carter-Jones: Running into a high school classmate years after

  1. alexisrhonefancher
    October 9, 2019

    Seriously good.

    Liked by 2 people

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