FOR DAVID WILLIAMS
I can still say I remember. Not that recollecting frees me.
No way that reliving cares a fiddly-squat fit to get good back.
It was a plan that I do not get, certainly not yet,
That separate but equal rule. We were
Just boys, one white, one black, Shub, David, squatted
At the ball-post. You looked me in the eye and said,
“Shub, there’ll come times when black people will be in charge.”
The lastingness was not long before 1954.
I knew the past was wrong, bad laws, blemished.
I know now that bruise has not healed.
When will we learn people are people,
Same and different? We want inside out to be ardor.
I don’t know where you are now. I think you moved.
Baltimore. That talk we had I remember
Like it was yesterday. Your brother
Russell was taking out the mule
So she could eat corn and drink water out of her trough.
Her long neck-muscles motion.
Shelby Stephenson, author of Paul's Hill: Homage to Whitman and Slavery and Freedom on Paul's Hill.