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by Karen L Griffin about a year ago in social commentary

A Black Lives Matter Poem

Her name was Gay,

from a time when the word also meant bright like flowers,

or the awnings at a fair. Gay was tall and beautiful

and she had a lilt when she walked.

I remember dimly

a brief season

where we shared secrets and laughed shyly,

holding hands on the playground,

running to commandeer the swings

or play foursquare, or huddle together

in a corner and play jacks.

To my baby porcupine, she seemed a gentle fawn,

and we were the best of friends.

Then one day, I got to school

and Gay shunned me. I don't know

if she simply didn't like me

or if someone got to her

because I was white

and it was the '60s.

But I can still feel her fingers locked through mine

(she taught me to do that)

and see her pretty neck and halo of soft hair

and feel the pride of having her by my side.

Her name was Marsha,

and she was a counselor

at the Scout camp where I was both joyful and homesick.

It was a magic place.

One day it was rainy and everyone stayed

in their tents but my friend Linda and I,

we went into the gym and Miss Marsha was there.

She said "Come, I'll teach you something new"

and she put on some Jackson 5

and to the poignant strains of I'll Be There

she made her hips flow

and illustrated with her hands.

She told us,

"This is soul dancing. Get up,

it's easy, you can do it.

You too, Karen.

Yes, that's it,

move to your feelings."

And I wanted her for my big sister.

His name is Joe,

and he plays bass guitar

in a well-known local band.

I'm a big woman now, and not young,

and the other guys are distant,

But Joe always walks through the crowd,

mid-set, talking to folks and playing his axe

and he stops at my table, bending his ear down

so that I can speak to him.

And when he does, it doesn't matter

that I'm fat or have issues

or don't dance anymore.

So please forgive me

if I am confused

when you say Black Lives Matter.

To me, it's when did they ever not.

I have to transcend my experience, and realize

Now you need my heart and my strength

and more than ever, my absolute certainty that love

comes in all colors.

social commentary

Karen L Griffin

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Karen L Griffin
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