She watches fan blades strobe
a petal pattern, faint street lights
flicker daisies, a cricket in her closet
chirps behind a box of shoes

Smoldered wood of a white oak
kneads the air from a food truck
baby ribs, smoking swine smell
coils through street like a tattoo

All the happy little daisies
whirligig to ghost­flowers
her students scattered brains
dye entrails of Baltimore

Freddie Gray, another scythed
little big horn, bown-­skinned
brothas hair­triggered
from this life to halcyon

She remembers Freddie’s love
for lettuce and baloney piled
high on Wonder Bread
how he giggled as he planted

his left foot, then his right foot
to the book, “Feet, Feet, Feet.”
She recited, in her Seuss-­voice
“Oh, oh the places you’ll go!”

Freddie’s slumlord was a drug
lord, never gave-­a­-damn ‘bout
peeling paint or lead peppered beds
or rats runnin’ out in the hall.

And she wonders if Freddie
had green grass under left foot,
long­-eared puppy near his right,
he might’ve thrown a bone

or whispered prayers in his ear
But…everyone knows, dogs are for the ‘burbs

—Sharon Frye

© 2015, poem, Sharon Frye, All rights reserved

One thought on “Barometer of Bones (A Batimore Teacher Remembers Freddie Gray)

  1. To remember the idealism and enthusiasm of the boy through the eyes of a teacher trying to give him hope, and watching it eroded and torn apart, finally brought to his tragic death as a young man. Throughout, the poem reveals the traps of racism and institutional poverty.

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