Sandra Ervin Adams – Two Poems

Shame

Just after the March
on Washington
Sarah’s strong-willed father
stood there holding a sheet
of paper in his calloused hands.
It told of plans for a crowded
convergence in a field of corn.
She begged him not to go,
stay home,
but he did not hear her pleas.
Past midnight she heard
his key in the lock.
She smelled the unmistakable
smell of smoke as he passed her door.

**

Family of Man

In the sixties when my father framed houses, fixed roofs,
constructed carports, he took a job building a church
for a preacher in Georgetown, an all-black section
where most whites didn’t go. Mama and I rode
with him the times he went to conduct business
or pick up his pay. On the way we passed
rows of wooden houses with wide porches.
As on previous trips, I peered out my backseat window
to the left, expecting to see a large lady sitting in her chair.
About the time I spied the woman,
Daddy rolled down his window and hollered:
Hey-o, Cousin Mary!
Immediately the woman yelled back:
Hey-o, Cousin Fred!

In the beginning, I asked how they were related.
Daddy said that everybody was kin.

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