Can we compensate? Settle accounts with the Black man living in the ghetto? Recoup the self-worth of the Muslim woman who was spit at? Atone for the slights in the communities who banished the Irish? Indemnify the Navaho for his beaten and murdered grandfather? Make amends to women who were denied opportunities to be heard? Probably not, but we can support justice. Fairness in our hiring practices. Due Process in our renting policies. Equity in our laws. Impartiality in our judgements. Still, it’s not enough. Eyes have to see. Hearts have to care. Arms have to open.
On the Subway
Do you see me, sitting next to you? You push up your glasses, and look past me, seeking a mirror to talk to. Your voice is soft, kind perhaps, as you smile and nod discuss children and slow transportation. Being brown, I don’t reflect you, but she isn’t really a copy either. She’s taller, like me and she’s younger— unlike you and me. I speak English, was born in California, raised in Illinois, have two children, probably work in a building near yours. Is there nothing you can say to me? I reflect sameness— but not enough? Maybe, I should speak, but would you hear if you don’t see?
We hold these truths, Do we? To be self-evident Not through much of history. That all men Define men. No women though, right? Are created equal, Whoa! Not Blacks— three-fifths of a person no property ownership no votes no signed contracts? Oh yeah! Property— not people.
©2022 Lorraine Jeffery
All rights reserved
…has won prizes in state and national contests and published over a hundred poems in journals including Clockhouse, Kindred, Halcyone, Canary, Ibbetson Street, Rockhurst Review, Naugatuck River Review, Orchard Street Press, Healing Muse and Bacopa Press. Her first book is titled When the Universe Brings Us Back, 2022.
Website / Blog Linked