I had everything and luck: Rings of smoke blown for me; sunlight safe inside the leaves of cottonwoods; pure, simple harmonies of church music, echoes of slave songs; scraps of candy wrappers -- airborne. Everything. Mother and father, brother, aunts, uncles; chores and schoolwork and playtime. Everything.
I was given gloves against winter cold. I was made to wear gloves when I gardened. I was made to garden; taught to hold forks in my left hand when cutting, in my right when bringing food to my mouth. Everything.
I had clothes I was told not to wear outside; a face you could clean up almost handsome; I had friends to fight with and secrets, spread all over the neighborhood; the best teachers, white and colored. I'm not making this up. I knew that I had everything. Still do.
It May Happen
- by G.E. Patterson3
as though it doesn't matter what is real
" . . . something almost . . . with asking." —Brenda Hillman
According to their signs we're in the country Far off things are being put on the record Where it may not matter to anyone If the shadows hide themselves behind rain The canal opening below the sky Daytime moving in swirls the painted colors Or the idea wind sometimes stops and starts What we might more properly call nostalgia
If we wanted to we could follow later Without giving up his place in the world A color postcard folded in our pockets The light informing us it's afternoon When what we feel is we remember feeling Not long ago it was the time before
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