POEM: Five Black Men Crossing The Street In Washington DC

Five Black Men Crossing The Street In Washington DC

on the corner of New York & North Capitol
I make the usual (white) observations:
scuffed sneakers, plastic bags in hand
casual walk in the middle of the afternoon

my brain does all the math before I can stop it
with my next breath I erase the equations
but I still can see the faint outlines
on the (black)board, smell chalk dust in the air

of course I’m also available this afternoon
my sneakers are dirty
I’ve carried in my weight in snacks out of
convenience stores in plastic bags

once in the mid-70s as I tried to sleep
I heard my grandpa say “colored people”
out in the living room
it was the only time in all the years I knew him

before the light changes a black
Jeep with tinted windows pulls up beside me
I turn my head to look for the bro
but it’s two women in hijab

///

Jason Crane
16 April 2019
Washington DC and State College PA

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