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POEM: one black family


one black family

there was one black family
in the town where I grew up
two kids, one in my grade
one a year or two older
both were smart, athletic
popular with everybody

back then I never thought
what it must be like for them
or for their parents to be
the only black family in town
about 45 minutes away was a city
where most of the people were black
although I didn’t know this at the time

for a child of my age in my town
black people were mostly on TV
I didn’t care about sports, but I grew up
watching The Jeffersons, Sanford & Son
then The Cosby Show and 227

my parents’ best friends were
a married couple; one black, one white
I’d known them since forever
and it never once occurred to me
in all those years that there was anything
strange about their being married
I still can’t decide, even now
if I was open-minded or just ignorant

and then today, out of nowhere
I exchanged a message with a star
from one of those TV shows I mentioned
she’s still out there, living life and making art
I wonder what the Jones kids thought
when they saw her on TV

16 August 2013
Auburn AL

Published in Auburn My poems Poem-A-Day 2013 Poetry Politics & Activism


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