This is a place people usually pass through, twix
n’ tween, intersection, no conjunction, just a way
to somewhere else. Not the crows this morning,
stunt diving tricks between the power lines. Not me,
I was raised here, I come back all the, all the time.
But the Walmart rigs roll through, and log trucks
with pine trunks pale as skinned knees. How mine
hurt on the gravel at recess, the mercurochrome
stung, like memories coming, going, then gone.
Then suddenly standing by me as I pick up dead tree
limbs in the yard and whirl them into the woods.
By me, in me, mama’s arm arches and hand extends,
the impatient vigor, the vim, the stubbornness.
Once I brought a friend to visit, and disappointed,
she said: It’s so small, I thought it was bigger,
much bigger, the way you talked about it. She’d
grown up in a city, she had this notion big things
only come from big places. Anyone who thinks that
should stop, and just look at a word, or at a hand.
Written on National Day to Defend Education, after attending a rally in support of
University of Alabama shuttle drivers fighting for union representation.
For more on the Crimson Ride drivers’ struggle, see Minnie Bruce Pratt,
Minnie Bruce Pratt is a white anti-racist, anti-imperialist activist, born in 1946, in Selma, Alabama. Her poetry as a lesbian mother, Crime Against Nature, was chosen for the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, and recently re-issued by Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer’s Night Press. Her most recent book is Inside the Money Machine, described by one reviewer as “anti-capitalist poetics in action.” She does organizing with the International Action Center, teaches at Syracuse University, and can be reached at www.mbpratt.org